CLEVELAND — Laura Aquila and her Cleveland W. 130 Street block watch group have stepped up driving and foot patrols in response to the latest police crime report showing property crimes are up in 2022.
The week 29 crime report from Cleveland police compiled data through July 16, and indicated breaking and entering cases are up 38.34% compared to this same time last year, and burglaries are up 14.21% thus far this year. At the same time, the report found homicides are down 12.22% and felonious assaults are down 16.05% compared to 2021.
Aquila told News 5 that her block watch has been extremely active over the past several weeks reporting criminal activity to Cleveland Police and believes the spike in property crimes is partly due to the struggling economy and shorthanded police staffing levels.
“Break-ins are hitting our neighborhood and we’re working hard to try and prevent it," Aquila said. "In our block group, we tell everybody to make sure they lock their doors to your cars and your home.”
“We patrol our neighborhood and make sure we don’t see somebody breaking into a house or tearing up property. Homeowners need to respond — getting a group of neighbors together that would be able to patrol the neighborhood, you don’t have to arrest anybody. Walk the neighborhood, drive the neighborhood, make sure your neighborhood is safe, your neighbors are safe, always check in on the elderly.”
“People know that the cops are not going to be responding as quick as they should when they’re down so many officers.”
Ward 7 Cleveland Councilman Charles Slife responded to the July crime report and told News 5 homeowners need to take action and report suspicious activity to the police. Slife urged homeowners to take advantage of free home safety and security inspections by contacting their council member to schedule an appointment.
"Any City of Cleveland resident or property owner can get an audit of their property from the division of police, and identify spots that are weaker and how they can work to enhance safety on their own property," Slife said. “Another great way to boost neighborhood safety, it’s actually sort of fun, is get to know your neighbors.”
Cleveland Police headquarters responded to our story and issued the following statement:
The City of Cleveland, Division of Police, Crime Analysis Unit collects detailed data relative to crimes and calls for service, which is published regularly and available to the public. The Division of Police continues to conduct regular crime reduction initiatives and operations with partnering federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. Members of the public are reminded to report criminal and suspicious activity to law enforcement. Together, we can keep our community safe. Call 9-1-1 in emergencies, 216-621-1234 in non-emergencies. Anonymous information can be provided by calling Crimestoppers at 216-25-CRIME.
Meanwhile, Junior Griffie, who is a 50-year resident of the West 130th Street neighborhood, urged residents to get involved and take action is slowing property crime.
“Up and down 130th on those side streets they have been having all kinds of carjackings," Griffie said. “I think the neighbors should step up, if they don’t step-up, we’re done.”