Two violent crimes in one week in downtown Cleveland have raised questions about safety in one of the most popular places in the city.
The latest incident occurred around 9:45 p.m. Tuesday. A 21-year-old man told police he was walking through one of the parking lots near Public Square when he was surrounded by a group of men, hit in the head with a pistol, stabbed and then robbed.
The victim said he may have known one of the attackers.
The other incident happened on Monday evening, when a 60-year-old woman was hit with a wrench as she sat in her car in a downtown parking garage during her break from work in Key Tower.
Michael Grum runs the Lucky Dog hot dog cart at the corner of West 3rd Street and Superior Avenue and said while the area is heavily patrolled by police, they still need more.
“I don’t think enough is done, especially in the wee hours of the morning when we need them the most,” Grum said.
News 5 has reported on fewer than five violent crime incidents in the area surrounding Public Square in the last two months.
For business owners like Rich Cicerchi, the concern is more about petty crime in the area.
“We’re not talking about violent crime, we’re just talking about unruliness, maybe disrespect, things like that,” Cicerchi said.
Still, he doesn’t believe it will stop any of the momentum and growth around downtown.
“These are momentary blips, but nothing to stop what is happening now. It’s exciting,” Cicerchi said.
Sanaa Julien, the CEO of the Group Plan Commission that oversees Public Square, sent the following statement:
We are aware of the unfortunate incidents that have occurred nearby over the last several days. We work very closely with the Cleveland Police Downtown Services Unit and the Downtown Cleveland Alliance to provide safety services in Public Square, which was not the location of either of these incidents. We encourage everybody to be aware of their personal safety at any location in any neighborhood.
Cleveland Police sent the following statement:
The Cleveland Division of Police has a detailed security plan in place for all large scale events, including those for Major League Baseball and Cleveland Indians home games. The Division will have many officers detailed to security of the venue and the downtown area for home games and, although tactical plans are not discussed or made available for release, these plans do include support from our law enforcement partners. Anyone planning to come downtown to cheer on the Tribe should plan for a safe event. Residents and visitors are encouraged to remain vigilant and if you “see something, say something”.