Cleveland community calls on city to do more after 21 people were shot in a week

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) – The Cleveland community is tired of all the gun violence. Over the past week, a total of 21 people have been shot and seven of them have died.

“It’s awful and we have to take over,” said one resident. “We must take back our city.”

A 16-year-old boy was shot dead outside a gas station on the west side of Cleveland on Wednesday, he did not survive. The day before, a 19-year-old boy was shot dead in the eastern neighborhood of Euclid Green.

“It was 37 shots,” recalled one woman. “I was terrified. I’m safe at home. There was only one shooting between the 102nd and Columbus. It was two guys coming down the street with a gun. I called the police, but of course, they are gone by the time they arrive.

Dozens of concerned citizens came to a Thursday night community meeting hosted by several Cleveland City Council members and Public Safety Director Kerry Howard.

“It starts with those who got the keys to open new doors,” said another woman at the meeting. “We can’t keep coming here and having meetings. We can’t open the doors until you let us. We can’t keep going around. We are not a circus.

Councilman Mike Polensek says with the increase in the number of teens and even children committing crimes, some responsibility must rest with parents.

“Let’s be very upfront about this, parents need to be parents in this town,” Polensek said. “When you see kids running in the streets at 1am and 2am, 11 and 12 year olds, wait a minute, why aren’t they home? Why is there no responsibility in the household? »

Some citizens wanted to know why more police aren’t patrolling their neighborhoods plagued by gun violence

“I mean they pass,” said one man. “It’s like they weren’t involved in the neighborhood.”

Howard said a big issue right now is the dwindling police numbers in Cleveland. He said they were severely understaffed and losing more officers every month. 19 News has learned that last week Cleveland police lost 270 officers.

“If we can increase headcount, we can increase visibility, but a lot of our officers are forced to respond to what we call Priority 1 calls, violent crimes,” Howard explained. “Our officers have worked very, very hard to reduce violent crime and to increase their presence by marching to the beat, doing patrols, but we need to recruit.”

Thursday’s meeting was largely aimed at encouraging members of the frustrated community to apply to become police officers, with the city saying they can then be part of the solution.

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