By Dave DeNatale
CLEVELAND — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine will be in Cleveland on Wednesday to announce an initiative to fight violent crime in the city.
DeWine will discuss details of state resources being deployed to combat violent crime at 3 p.m. at the Cleveland Division of Police’s 4th District on Kinsman Avenue. 3News plans to stream the news conference live and you will be able to watch here.
Wednesday’s visit from DeWine comes as Cleveland has dealt with increases in homicides and car thefts in 2023, as compared to the previous year. The surge in violent crime was highlighted by a mass shooting that injured nine people in the Warehouse District last month.
Calling on the governor
Last month, 3News reported that Cleveland City Councilman Michael Polensek — who also serves as the council’s Public Safety Committee chair — sent an email to DeWine, telling him, “I am increasingly of the belief that the City administration does not have a plan to deal with the growing violence.” The email went on to say, “We need help if we are going to take back the streets and restore peace and order in Cleveland.”
As of last month, data showed homicides in the city were up 30% compared to last year. Fueled by the nationwide problem of Kia and Hyundai break-ins, Cleveland has seen a staggering 98% increase in the number of car thefts.
To remedy the violent crime, the city and the Cleveland Division of Police have called on a number of other agencies to assist.
Lending a helping hand
Since May, the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) has been working alongside officers from the Cleveland Division of Police’s Traffic Unit in an effort to enforce traffic safety and reduce crashes in the city. That partnership is set to continue through the end of this month.
Also, Cuyahoga County Sheriff Harold Pretel told 3News he has put together a “downtown safety patrol” plan to assist Cleveland police and OSHP troopers. Pretel’s team is working Wednesday through Saturday, when downtown Cleveland is heaviest with visitors. Eight deputies and a sergeant with canines are patroling Playhouse Square, Public Square, the Flats and additional areas.
Earlier this month, U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott announced that his office will be teaming up with the city for “Operation 216,” which will provide additional resources and manpower from members of the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force focusing on targeted hot spots in the city of Cleveland. In addition, Operation 216 also includes an additional cold case investigator assigned to work on unsolved homicide cases ranging from two to three years old.
Next Wednesday, Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb is scheduled to host a “Public Safety Summit” to address the ongoing problem of hiring and keeping police officers in the city. Bibb will be joined by Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association President Det. Jeff Follmer and Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 8 President Capt. Jim O’Malley.