CLEVELAND – Some residents of the Slavic Village neighborhood of Cleveland are fed up with what they call the increased lawlessness and crime that has been pervasive in their community since the March 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.
Slavic Village block club leaders like Ed McDonald pointed out a number of ruthless drivers who have slammed their vehicles into homes or businesses in recent months.
McDonald said its neighborhood continues to grapple with potentially dangerous vacant houses, crime and gunfire that ring out almost every night. The subject made national headlines on January 3 in a New York Times article entitled “Gunfire and Crashing Cars: In Struggling Neighbors”. “We’re losing our grip.”
“It’s difficult to read things about your neighborhood when they are consistently negative,” said McDonald. “It doesn’t seem like we’re moving forward, it seems like we’re taking three every time we take two steps forward.” step back. This is just another example of how we allow lawlessness and people break the law and do nothing about it. “
Ted Skwarski, owner of Ted’s Auto Service and Body on Harvard Avenue, was hit by a fast moving driver on Jan. 13 and said his building had been badly damaged.
Skwarski said Cleveland City Council Tony Brancatelli is doing the best it can but more city funding and police enforcement are needed.
“It makes me very sick to see that,” said Skwarski. “Damage to my building, damage to my employees’ cars, it’s terrible. If this were Tremont, if this were Collinwood, it would be done. The poor Slavic village gets nothing.” .
“Nothing is done, it’s getting worse and worse everywhere, we don’t get any help from anyone. I would really hope we can get a new administration that will put some money in our neighborhood, we need it. It’s just awful, it’s just awful and I don’t know how else to start it. “
Brancatelli told News 5 the pandemic had slowed the block club’s involvement in the neighborhood. His community development company is now implementing public outreach in the neighborhood by distributing a pandemic care kit to local residents.
Brancatelli said he had plans in 2021 to foster a stronger partnership between residents, community leaders and city hall leaders to help slow the worrying trend of crime.
“It was a real challenge,” said Brancatelli. “The speed has increased, and not just people going 10-15 mph over the limit, but people going 100 mph. Some of the accidents have been pretty terrible.” where they crash into buildings.
“Trying to contain some of this takes more than just traffic control. People need to understand the consequences of reckless driving. The ability to engage local residents at the block club level and lose access to them during COVID has made it very worrying. As elected officials, we need to provide the services, make sure these houses are boarded up, that we get enforcement of the code, and that people are brought to a housing court. I think these are the parts where we can work hand in hand. “