Residents Call for Safer Streets for Women

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EAST CLEVELAND - Red balloons floated into the East Cleveland sky as the names were called out of area women who have been victimized simply because they are women.

“They are Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus," Kathy Wray Coleman of The Imperial Avenue Women said.

The rally was held Friday where the bodies of Angela Deskins, Shetisha Sheeley and Shirellda Terry were found two weeks ago.

Their names were called out as well.

Balloons were also released for the 11 women killed by Anthony Sowell and for the women whose bodies were found in the 93rd street area. Their murders remain unsolved.

The activists, pastors, neighbors and relatives of the victims are asking for help.

"First it begins with us and so we are calling on each person to be concerned about the community," Pastor Tony Minor with United Pastors in Mission said.

"On behalf of The Imperial Avenue Women, we call on the governor of Ohio to bring the resources into the black communities, like he would bring it into other communities with this kind of crisis," Coleman said.

"We are asking for resources, resources to come into the city to help them search out these abandoned houses," said Minor.

They say in some parts of the city, it's not even safe for a woman to walk down the street.

Patricia Rowell said last week she narrowly escaped from a suspected predator because another stranger intervened.

"I was on my way to work and I noticed a black van with tinted windows and 30-day tags was following me," Rowell said. "I turned up the street and stopped, and it stopped. So a neighbor helped me in her house and I called the police."

There are thousands of abandoned houses in East Cleveland alone. Most have not been searched.

"We don't think everyday people need to be doing that. We need the real technical support, because those buildings could potentially be crime scenes," Minor said.

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