Council members say people are afraid to walk in Cleveland because of increase in violent crime

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams was in the hot seat on Wednesday.

Council members had a lot of questions for Williams and specifically how he and his department are going to cut down the number of violent crimes in Cleveland.

In the first public safety committee meeting of the year, council member after council member told the top cop citizens in their wards are afraid to walk the streets because of the increase in violent crime.

"People believing there are sections of this city that are out of control from a standpoint of violent crime.  You can say what you want, but perception is 9/10ths of reality. If they believe they are not safe, they aren't safe," council member Michael Polensek said.

"What is happening in the Lee Harvard area is not working.  We have to look at how we deploy some level of system in place to secure our neighborhood," council member Joseph Jones.

Chief Williams responded to the questions.

"It's more than law enforcement. It's more than boots on the ground and locking folks up or enforcing the law. It's really dealing with those society ills that causes a 14 year-old to have a gun in the first place."

The city is working on hiring about 200 additional officers to get to about 1,600 officers on the force.

They have several cadet classes scheduled.

They are hoping more officers will help the crime rate.

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