String of violence hits Cleveland neighborhood, police say outsides are to blame

CLEVELAND -

A string of violence has hit Cleveland's central neighborhood over the last few months, and innocent bystanders are suffering the consequences. 

On Tuesday afternoon, two teenagers were shot at E. 36th Street and Longwood Avenue. It comes on the heels of a shooting in that same area on Sunday.

In April, a teenager was shot on Jelliffe Street and Longwood. A month before, a 5-year-old girl walking down the street with her mother was shot when gunfire erupted.

"I feel concerned for my safety and the group's safety when we have to go there," Alfred Porter Jr. with Black on Black Crime said.  

Police said it is not the people living in the neighborhood causing the problems, and residents are upset.

"They're upset, they're demanding answers from us, and we're responding with resources," said Cleveland Third District Commander Thomas McCartney.

McCartney said there is now one, two-person zone car that patrols the area 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

There is also a program called the Violent Crime Reduction Initiative (VCRI). When a call for an aggravated robbery or felonious assault comes to third district police, both a zone car and a detective respond.

"We respond immediately, launch a formal investigation when witnesses are there, the story is fresh, the evidence is fresh," McCartney said.

McCartney said VCRI has been helpful in solving crimes.

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