Neighbors try new approach to deal with juveniles

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - It's an issue neighbors in west Toledo said they are angry about. Juveniles taking over their neighborhood and causing problem after problem. So many problems in fact, some neighbors didn't want their name or face to appear in our story for fear of retaliation.

"I can honestly say I don't feel safe in the neighborhood anymore," said one elderly neighbor who has lived there for more than 50 years.

"They are so disrespectful," said another living near Willys Park. "They don't have any respect for adults."

Andrea Leslie lives near Asbury Park and said the unruly juveniles have crossed the line, even assaulting her daughter.

"It's constant 911 calls," said Leslie. "My daughter has been assaulted at the park by these children. It's not safe to go to the park and that sucks."

While neighbors are avoiding any contact with the teens, they want to take back their streets. They called in some help from Toledo Police and the Juvenile Prosecutor at their block watch meeting Tuesday night. Their advice for neighbors was simple.

"If you don't call it didn't happen because we don't know about it," said Toledo Police Officer Slay. "We want your call."

Toledo Police often patrol using statistical information meaning those calls could bring additional patrols to your neighborhood. It's also advised you get a good description of the person or group you are calling about to have on record if something does happen.

Lori Olender, the Lucas County Juvenile Prosecutor said the system has changed from years past. They seek to keep teens out of jail, but she says she is doing her best to help.

"All you can do is call the police," explained Olender. "You have to know that our hands are tied unless you actually see somebody commit a crime and you know it is them, that's the hard part."

While any advice will help, some neighbors were disappointed knowing more couldn't be done.

"I was pretty mad," said one neighbor who feels personally attacked by some of the violence. "Basically, these juveniles are going to take over our neighborhoods."

"We can't take our streets back without the reinforcement of laws in place," said Leslie. "If the laws aren't there what do we do?"

Neighbors said they are still figuring out their next step and how they can fight back.

"I don't know what the answer is, nobody knows what the answer is," said a neighbor. "I think if we could start with a little more respect maybe that's a beginning."

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