City of Cleveland cites progress, acknowledges work to do to make city safer
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Violent crime, specifically murders in the city of Cleveland remains at a staggering level, at least from a recent historical perspective.
Murders, in the city, compared to just 10 years ago are up 125 percent, there were just 76 murders in the city in 2011 and that number jumped to 179 in 2020.
Certainly, that number cannot be pinned on the Justin Bibb administration, but as the murder rate soars the administration must find ways to slow the violence and bring a sense of peace to the neighborhoods.
Statistics provided in a 2022 mid-year Cleveland Division of Police Budget Report show that the murder rate during Bibb’s first 6 months in office is down from the first 6 months of last year and that is certainly a start, but nobody, including Bibb believes that the problem has been solved.
Cleveland Police Chief Wayne Drummond said the administration will lean heavily on research, analytics, and intelligence, and that information has already proved useful in dealing with violent crime.
“A lot of our violence drivers, its not like 300,000 people, it’s a handful of people, that’s really driving the crime,” Drummond said.
Getting into the neighborhoods, weeding out the problem, and getting those responsible into courtrooms and off the streets will be the first move in minimizing the murder rate.
The pandemic played a large role in that a murder rate that was steadily rising, rose significantly in 2020, but the pandemic itself is not the only issue, according to Carrie Howard the city’s safety director.
“How are we handling mental health? How are we handling access to guns? How are we handling staffing within the division of police? How are we handling economic development,?’ we are turning this corner to meet the modern issues with modern solutions,” he said.
Mayor Justin Bibb believes Drummonds leadership, as chief, is going to pay dividends in lowering the violent crime rate, he believes it already has.
“I believe the department is doing a better job of what I call precision policing, more intelligence, more focus on hot spots and getting more resources from the federal government and state government to augment our capabilities.,” Bibb said.
The one area that everyone agrees needs to improve immediately is hiring, the department is down nearly 250 officers and Cleveland Police Union President Jeff Follmer believes that is one of the reasons behind the number of arrests made by the department being down, significantly, year to year.
Drummond disputed that stating that solid police work by officers was leading to de-escalation in many instances which leads to fewer arrests, although Drummond quickly agreed that having a fully staffed force was to everyone’s benefit.
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