Cleveland Looks to Replace Crime With Opportunity

Cleveland voters approved a half-percent income tax hike in November.  And today (Wed) the mayor and a half dozen other city officials couldn’t stop thanking them for it.  With that extra money, Mayor Frank Jackson kicked off a comprehensive plan to battle crime and help young people in the city.

Mayor Jackson figures a lot of good young people in the city are growing up in crime ridden areas through no fault of their own.  He cites his own great grandson

“He knows the difference between a fire cracker and a gunshot.   A Firecracker is fireworks but when he hears a gunshot he gets real tense and he runs in the house and he sits down.  He sits down.  To me he’s being traumatized. “

Mayor Jackson hired Duane Deskins to be in charge of the office of “Prevention, Intervention, and Opportunity for Youth and Young Adults."

Mayor Frank Jackson and Duane Deskins  ( Urycki/ideastream)

That effort involves multiple organizations fanning out to Cleveland neighborhoods to give kids jobs, classes, and recreational opportunities.  An epidemiologist will be hired to track crime as a public health issue.   Jackson calls it a holistic approach to giving kids opportunities while reducing crime. 

Duane Deskins calls it good science.

“The data has been there a long time. You always being that tug between folks who want to be tough on crime and the folks who want to be smart on crime.” 

A tough on crime approach is also part of the plan. A police presence will be noticeable in high crime areas at night and staffers will monitor both social media and bars in an effort to prevent fights before they happen. 

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