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Longtime Cleveland resident points blame for a life drastically different than the glitz of downtown

Posted at 5:41 PM, Aug 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-08 18:52:18-04

Len Thompson has been a resident of Kingsford Avenue on Cleveland's east side for the past 31 years. But this weekend that changed as he and his family moved out of the city, fed up with the crime and elected officials.

"I see downtown Cleveland, beautiful," said Thompson. " I see the west Shoreway, beautiful. I see Tremont, beautiful. West 25th, they're building. But when I see my neighborhood, nothing."

In the past decade, Thompson said he has seen his neighborhood decline dramatically. His house was broken into last year, he has bullet holes in his house and car, and he has seen homes and vehicles on his street set on fire.

"How often do you hear gun shots around here?" asked NewsChannel 5's Kristin Volk. "Everyday," answered Thompson. "Everyday. I'm waiting for one now."

NewsChannel 5 has been following Thompson's story for nearly a year. Each time, he has expressed frustration with city officials, especially Mayor Frank Jackson and his councilman, Terrell Pruitt.

"Give me a reason to stay, Frank," he said last October. "Give me a reason to stay Terrell. Give me a reason."

But in the last eight months, Thompson said he never given, or found, a reason to stay.

His text messages and phone calls to Pruitt haven't changed anything. The violence continues.

"I have to protect my family," he said.

Thompson and his family moved to the suburbs but he can't sell his Kingsford Ave. home. So he is renting it out. He said he has no choice.

The love he once had for his city and his house is now gone.

"There is no sentimental no, not at all," he added. "Not for me it isn't."

NewsChannel 5 reached out to Councilman Pruitt but our phone call was not returned.