TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Neighbors got a chance to ask Toledo's Police Chief questions Monday night. It was an opportunity to make their concerns known and get answers on what is next for the city in 2018.
Several living in South Toledo showed up to hear how Chief George Kral will lead the department in the new year.
"I'm excited to go into '18 because our numbers are going to increase," said police chief George Kral of the number of officers on the department. "I have never seen community engagement as engaged as it is now and I don't see anywhere, but the partnership to grow."
Chief Kral addressed the city's 39 homicides in 2017 saying while it's still far too many, we have had less shootings than the past two years.
"We're going in the right direction," Kral said during the neighborhood watch meeting Monday night.
Of the 39 homicides the department has solved 23 cases. During the meeting, for the Glendale Glanzman Neighborhood Watch, the chief also mentioned his officers confiscated millions of dollars of narcotics and took more than 1,000 guns off the streets.
Chief Kral explained while you may remember the violence of 2017 because of the several incidents at the end of the year, shootings are down from 2016 by 9 percent and down 1 percent from 2015.
He said in the new year, TPD will bring in more officers for the gang unit, detective bureau and swat team. He will continue the successful S.T.O.P. program which in just 34 weeks made 472 arrests 189 of which were on view felonies, issued 216 misdemeanor warrants and 41 felony warrants, and what the chief is proudest of, close to 4,000 meet and greet opportunities for officers and community members.
With this program doing some community outreach, TPD also wants to get creative on how they can improve relations with the public so they can better work together.
Neighbors at the meeting Monday night also wanted to raise awareness about issues specific to their neighborhoods. They said they have seen an increase in car break-ins and even suspicious people on their property.
"We definitely need more police presence on the streets," said Rick Dankert, a neighbor living in South Toledo for nearly 40 years. "I think that's a big issue. You can only do so much with so many people."
"I feel that TPD is working their hardest," explained Patrick Harvey, the neighborhood watch coordinator. "But just to keep us on the radar because yeah, we haven't had the shootings and things like that that other parts of the city have had, but we are just as important here as they are there and this is where that community partner comes in together."
Chief Kral said with the promise of bigger police classes, he will be able to get more officers on the streets.
"You're going to see our numbers going up and that is going to give me the flexibility to put officers in the neighborhoods to specifically address what each individual community wants us to look at," said Chief George Kral.
While final crime stats for 2017 haven't been finalized yet, Chief Kral expects the overall crime numbers to be down about four to seven percent a tread he hopes to continue.
Neighbors agree and are looking forward to seeing the changes planned for 2018 and how they will impact the Glass City.