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Cleveland, Cuyahoga leaders to address juvenile crime spikes in public meeting Wednesday

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Posted at 7:02 AM, May 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-11 07:02:23-04

CLEVELAND — As juvenile crime continues to rise throughout the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, local leaders are meeting to confront the issue.

According to a press release, “the County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley will be present to discuss actions being taken by the Prosecutor’s Office to reduce juvenile crime. The City Prosecutor Aqueelah Jordan will explain the work of her office and the role with juvenile offenders. County Juvenile Court Administrative Judge Thomas O’Malley will provide clarity on the role of the courts, and explain how the court interacts with juvenile offenders and their parents or guardians. The Director of Community Relations Grady Stevenson and the Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance will discuss their efforts in addressing youth violence. The Director of Public Safety Karrie Howard and Interim Chief of Police Dornat Drummond will speak on the efforts of the gang unit.”

Several local nonprofits and organizations will also be present to share their action plans.

“We hear the cry out for help, that our city is suffering under a climate of violence,” said Myesha Watkins, Executive Director of the Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance.

Watkins and her team currently work closely with the city. She says, “having worked closely with them [and] understanding how we support the city, the conversations led to this meeting so that we can figure out how do we best utilize the Peacemakers Alliance as an entity that can contribute to a reduction of violence in the community.”

Watkins says their focus is on juvenile crime. She explained she hires “men and women who are familiar with the community, who have lived and shared experiences similar to the young people that we serve, who are the most proximate to the pain and still live in communities where violence impacted their lives as well as the young people.”

Their focus is rooted in building relationships with the city's youth.

“We continue to show up to engage in situations as far as classrooms, recreation centers, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio, their homes or systems, wherever young people are.”

It's through those relationships, Watkins says her team has been able to provide youth alternatives to violence.

But Watkins says violence cannot continue as it has. It’s why she believes the meeting is essential.

“I’m hoping that the city feels a sense of hopefulness [and] see that many municipalities and people, that organizations are coming together,” Watkins said. “Collectively, community and government are coming together to create a better.”

The meeting will be held at 10 a.m at Cleveland City Hall, 601 Lakeside Avenue, in the Mercedes Cotner Council Committee Room 217. The meeting is open to the public. However, capacity is limited due to covid. Masks are required for those who attend.

The meeting will be live-streamed on YouTube, Cleveland TV Channel 20 (Spectrum Cable TV), and TV 20 for those who cannot attend in person.

For more information go to Cleveland City Council’s website.

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