Police Car Stopped outside a building in Cleveland
Police Car Stopped outside a building in Cleveland. Boys and Girls Clubs spokesperson said most of the kids at clubs in the city know somebody who has been hurt or killed by violence. Credit: Jeff Haynes / Signal Cleveland

By Bri Buckley

As local and state leaders work to combat crime in Cleveland hot spots, kids are being impacted by the violence.

“It makes my stomach drop. It makes my heart drop, my heart pound,” said 9-year-old Amiyah Anthony.

Anthony said she knows people who have been shot,

“By getting in an argument, that could turn into somebody dying,” said 13-year-old Frederick Priah.

Priah is in eight grade at East Preparatory Academy. He said violence is just a part of life.

“It’ll probably stop for a couple days then start back up,” he added.

Priah and his 10-year-old brother Fred Wade said they listen to advice from their mom to stay out of trouble, and rely on each other to stay safe.

“I love my brothers, my uncles, my aunties, my cousins, my mom, my dad, my stepdad, I love everybody,” Wade said.

Mentors at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio on Broadway Avenue said they appreciate any effort to make the community safer, after Ohio Governor Mike DeWine made a stop in Cleveland to announce 138 felony arrests and 63 guns seized during the ‘surge initiative.’ Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb, and Cuyahoga County Sheriff Harold Pretel were among the local leaders on hand for the briefing.

When kids don’t have to worry

“Most of the kids at our clubs here they know somebody who has been hurt or killed by violence,” Ken Wood, director of communications for Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio

Wood said it will take time to see the initiatives results.

“The kids are used to it and that’s an unfortunate situation and I hope we get to a point where we’re not used to it and I hope we get to a point where kids don’t have to worry and I hope we get to a point where kids aren’t living with this every day,” Wood said.  

Last month, DeWine announced a new ‘surge initiative‘. The Governor deployed state resources to help combat violent crime in high-crime spots in Cleveland. The initiative combines the resources of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to target “known criminal hot spots.” 

Since then, there have been three “surge initiative” operations. In each case, the Ohio State Highway Patrol worked alongside Cleveland police and other law enforcement agencies in 2-day missions.

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