Old Brooklyn neighbors work together to fight crime, help police

Published: Oct. 23, 2021 at 11:29 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Old Brooklyn is a neighborhood known for its’ safe streets, but a high-profile attack on a paramedic has the Old Brooklyn Crime Watch group taking notice and taking action.

So, how are neighbors taking back the streets?

Neighbors in Old Brooklyn are putting the bad guys on alert.

That’s because the neighborhood watch program has eyes everywhere and will soon be expanding.

Bill Schwark is in charge of the Old Brooklyn Crime Watch and believes in being proactive.

“We’ve got to do something. We don’t have enough policemen,” said Schwark. “We need to be their eyes. We need to be the ones that pick up the phone and calls them and gives them a good description of the person that’s causing the problem.”

Just last month a vehicle accident took an unusual turn when a suspect walked up to an EMS Captain and stabbed the first responder in the leg, kids are caught on surveillance camera destroying someone’s car, and then there’s the armed carjackings from back in April.

Old Brooklyn’s long-time residents like Susan Gundich has lived in the neighborhood for 47 years.

She loves her community but admits times have certainly changed.

“We had a couple of speeders and that kind of thing when first moved here. Now, I’m afraid to go out my side door and get in my car, which is only feet away to walk up my drive,” said Gundich.

The Old Brooklyn Crime Watch group, which has up to 120 people attending meetings on some occasions, works closely with the Cleveland Police Second District and reports crimes to CPD’s Community Services Unit.

But soon the group will expand and have more neighbors watching out for neighbors.

“We’re getting ready to organize Old Brooklyn block watch groups, and what we’re going to do is we’re going to divide into different areas of Old Brooklyn. We want to get things not just under control – but much better than they already are,” Schwark said.

For long-time residents, it’s important to save neighborhoods by standing together to keep watch according to Grundich.

“As a senior citizen now I’m not going to be fighting anybody off,” she said. “But they’re also not going to have the advantage of taking everything I’ve worked so hard for.”

What’s so important to note about this Old Brooklyn Crime Watch group is they truly know their neighbors, they know their neighborhoods and they can tell the difference between a neighbor locked out of their home and someone breaking in.

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