Do Toledo gangs feel they own the streets?

By Dick Berry - email

Posted by Dave Dykema - email

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Do Toledo gangs feel they own the streets? It's a question on the minds of many due to the recent layoffs of 75 Toledo police officers.

Sgt. Sean Jones has been a member of the Toledo Police Gang Task Force for one year. He's heading to the 3100 block of Scottwood where a group of Crips have reportedly gathered for a dogfighting match.

"There was a large group out there. Apparently might have been a pit bull fight. One of the dogs got mutilated," said Jones. "They fight dogs all the time. Money makers for them. Way to pass the time."

Sgt. Jones and others question gangmenbers about the fight.

Nobody is arrested.

One dog, though, is dead.

The Dog Warden will investigate.

The altercation temporarily over, Jones says there's "No telling what these guys are capable of doing. We pull up on an incident. Don't know what they've done. What they were planning on doing. Walk up on them. No telling what they're capable of."

The Gang Task Force has a message to Toledo gangs.

The unit was re-organized after recent layoffs and is back to full strength.

But the streets may still be more dangerous this summer.

"We're dealing with perception here. In their minds right now, they feel more free to commit crime. That's a dangerous thing."

Jones finds proof of that danger in west Toledo near Whitmer High School, checking out graffitti on a utility pole that reads:

"75 down--Crips run dis town"

That's a reference to police layoffs.

On the same box is the word "SLOB"--a Crips derogatory word for rival gang The Bloods.

And "Crips" is spray-painted on the front of a nearby house.

The Task Force hopes to keep gang activity under control.

However, Jones adds, "If they think they're the real deal then we've gotta consider them the real deal."

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