Residents refuse to give up on Slavic Village amid recent crime wave

CLEVELAND - Cleveland residents aren't giving up on their neighborhood, even after two deaths and a burglary happened in just one week in Slavic Village.

“A lot of hurting people are walking these streets, ok. We cannot ignore them," said one woman during a vigil for the lost lives on Saturday.

Some neighbors say it's time to take action, which is why the community churches are coming together to try a unique approach to bring healing to their community. 

Just last week, a 94-year-old woman visiting her family from Honduras was killed by a home invader while she was sleeping, and her 74-year old daughter was badly hurt.

RELATED: 94-year-old woman killed during Cleveland home invasion

Then a dead body was found in the back of this neighborhood church.

RELATED: Police: Maintenance worker discovers body underneath stairs outside a church

“It’s a very scary thought,” said Heather Broyles, a mom and resident in the neighborhood.

And a third incident, an elderly couple was burglarized, beaten and threatened by the suspect.

RELATED: Elderly couple robbed in Slavic Village neighborhood

"We're talking about areas where over the generations people have grown to think nobody cares," said Willie Brown Jr., a church member of Broadway Faith Assembly Church.

That frame of mind is what Dr. Lisa Ramirez, a child psychologist at MetroHealth Hospital, said is a factor playing a major role in inducing more trauma.

“We know that toxic stress and anxious both can actual impact brain development,” she said.

That's why pastor minor and his church members, are teaming up with MetroHealth to start healing circles, and Brown is fully aware it may be an uphill battle, at least initially.

“In the beginning, we might encounter some apathy and some distrust, [but] I think after that, the trust will develop,” Brown said.

The healing circles will consist of groups from various congregations, like Pastor Minor’s church, who will be trained to handle traumatic situations and will have two functions.

One: They will act as first responders right when an incident happens.

“The most important thing is for them to understand that they're not alone," Minor said.

Two: They'll follow up with neighbors…knocking on doors, providing mental and emotional support.

“We are even more taking steps to try to improve the community,” Minor said.

Ramirez will be leading the healing circle training…and says the key, is creating a safe environment for future generations.

“We’re missing the opportunities to help those children get back on track for healthy development,” Ramirez said.

The special trauma training starts in early October.

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