About a hundred Old West End residents gathered at Glenville Elementary School Thursday to discuss recent violence that has plagued Toledo.
"We have youngsters afraid to go to school, afraid they might get shot, young women are afraid they might get accosted," were the words of Khali Maddox-Abdegeo, President of the Old West End Neighborhood Initiative.
Concerned citizens had an open dialogue with local leaders and law enforcement officials addressing a string of homicides and shootings in recent months. Mayor Michael Bell was on hand and stressed the importance of parents and guardians active involvement in their children's lives. Bell said, "Too often there are people in our community standing on the sidelines judging, without getting actively involved in the game, and that's got to stop." He referenced a city initiative last spring that about 2,500 young people attended, successfully employing many.
"One person getting shot is extremely important to us and we're going to do our best to minimize that," Bell continued. Local law enforcement has installed security cameras at posts throughout the city that aim to curb criminal activity. However, officials maintain that it is essential for residents to report crime. "It's got to be a partnership between the community and the police to solve problems," said TPD Deputy Chief George Taylor. "The problems become so big nobody else can take care of it by the time it gets to the police."
Sonya Newton agreed, "It takes a community to keep us safe." She added, "When you get all these people to come together today they see they have a shared problem and they work together to get it solved."
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