CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Three teenagers are being charged in connection with dozens of carjackings and thefts in the Cleveland area.
The arrests were made by the Cleveland Division of Police during a city-wide operation targeting multiple suspects wanted for these carjackings.
The crimes occurred both in the city and surrounding suburbs, according to a press release issued by the department.
One area recently hit by carjackings is West Park, an area residents say is relatively quiet. But the recent rash in crime has neighbors pleading for help.
“West Park residents are fed up,” said Ken Trump, who’s lived in West Park for the past 25 years. He says several of the carjackings happened close to his home.
“Police have not been allowed to chase the criminals even when they see them. There’s been a disconnect between the written police policy and what’s in practice,” said Trump.
Violent carjackings have spiked the past few months the throughout Cleveland area, and many responsible are just teenagers.
The three teens arrested, thus far, in connection to the carjackings range in age from 14 to 17-years-old. They now face robbery and grand theft charges.
“We’ve seen carjacking carjackings from 2 p.m. to attempted carjackings at 7 a.m. while people were on their way to work and were distracted and not paying attention,” says Trump. He says he and his neighbors are pleading for more to be done to curb the uptick in teen violence.
“The city has to have a comprehensive approach to juvenile crime and violence from providing opportunities for children academically,” Trump said.
A Cleveland organization is working to do just that. The Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance is a local outreach group that is trying to reduce this teen violence through programs and support.
“I think young people and young adults in our community, in general, when resources are slim, violence becomes more acceptable,” said Myesha Crowe, the executive director of the Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance.
Crowe says her group will head out to wherever local teens are hanging out, in an effort to make a connection and offer support.
“We just engage them and instead of looking at them as what the story or the narrative. We just ask them how can we best help you, how can we best serve you.”
Police still looking for more suspects involved in the recent carjackings.
The three teens already arrested in connection to the carjackings are expected to next appear in court on March 15.
Anyone with information regarding criminal activity is asked to call police or Crimestoppers by calling 216-25-CRIME.