People who live in Waterloo Arts District wonder if more cops will curb violence or escalate tension

Posted at 6:29 AM, Jan 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-31 06:35:05-05

People who live near the Waterloo Arts District say it's usually pretty safe, right up until they're ducking for cover in their own homes. 

In an area that's trying to be a bright spot on the east side of Cleveland, former City Councilman and current State Representative Bill Patmon says the streets resemble something very different.

A little more than a month after bullets flew across the Sunoco station on East 156th Street, Chari Foster says the neighborhood is pretty peaceful, until it's not.

"If you do hear a shootout or something like that, we already know the procedure," said Foster.

She says that means getting kids into the back rooms, away from the windows and out of the way.

Representative Patmon says this doesn't look like the United States.

"You would think you're in the Middle East when you're watching the news," said Representative Patmon. "There's very little difference between what happens here and what happens in the Middle East."

He's shopping around a plan now that would bring in state resources, paid for out of a state rainy day fund that Representative Patmon expects to be about a billion dollars.

"We have helicopters, airplanes, intelligence units at the state of Ohio," said Representative Patmon. "Just think if we bring that pressure to bear, the streets would immediately become safer."

Representative Patmon says he knows there are underlying issues that lead to violence and that this is just treating the end result.

Chari isn't so sure it makes sense to her. 

She lives near the Sunoco station because it was much safer than where she lived before. She says police relations are already strained, and her neighbors don't feel like officers show they care enough.

"So if that's not being showed, how can we trust more police to come in and to protect and serve," said Foster. "That's not going to work, it's going to cause a problem."

The mayor's office tells us that our phone call asking about Representative Patmon's idea was the first they heard of it. 

City Councilman Michael Polensek requested that the mayor ask for help from the state at the end of December. Councilman Polensek says he still hasn't heard back from the mayor.