Tri-C forum focuses on violence in NE Ohio

Tri-C forum focuses on violence in NE Ohio

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland 19 News reporter Harry Boomer moderated an anti-violence panel discussion at Cuyahoga Community College on Wednesday.

People asked questions about violence, its causes, its consequences, and possible cures.

"A child is involved in an incidence of violence about 65 percent of the time," said Andy Gonzales, chief of police for the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority.

Attendees discussed dealing with early trauma, domestic violence, mental illness, and responding to violence in general. Most residents know to call 911, but there are other resources people can tap into, including the Peace Makers Alliance.

"They are individuals who have walked that path of violence -- and possibly gang-banging in those neighborhood, causing havoc -- that have transitioned out of that," Charyna Cloud, who runs the community-based prevention and intervention program.

Gonzalez said law enforcement is also changing its attitude.

"The reality is that violence is not just a law enforcement issue. It's a public health issue and that requires reaching out and creating new partnerships we never had before," he said.

Khalid Samad, of Peace in the Hood, was also on Wednesday's panel.

"As those groups begin to sustain themselves and build up the capacity to collaborate and partner with law enforcement, government and private business, then we can make a lot of difference in a short period of  time," Samad said.

Danny Williams, of the Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland, put together the forum. He said violent crime is not just a crime, but a public health issue as well.

"Violence and guns are a major part of the cause for people needing to come to places like the Free Clinic and elsewhere," he said.

There were 120 homicides in Cleveland in 2015, though Cleveland is far from the only place with a violence problem. The city is now using more and more of its resources to combat crime and violence. Another sentiment shared at the forum was that every member of a community has a role to play in reducing violence and its negative impacts.

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