Mayor's crime tips policy has some worried about their safety

TOLEDO -- Some Toledoans who are tired of the drug houses in their neighborhood called the mayor's office, and what they were told may surprise you.

News 11's Jonathan Walsh reports that these citizens had numerous problems with a couple of drug houses in their area. They documented the crimes and police responded by conducting some raids, but people say the crime just keeps coming back.

One woman who called the mayor directly was told she had to give her name. She thinks others should know what the mayor's demanding, so she came to us to get the word out. When we spoke with her, she said she wanted to remain anonymous, and we respected that. But she says the mayor's office apparently did not when she called directly to speak to Carty Finkbeiner.

"They demand that you give a name and a number so they can get the message to the mayor," she told us.

That woman and about about a dozen others contacted police about the crime in their neighborhood, and they sent the mayor a letter outlining their concerns -- but when crimes continued in the area, the woman called the mayor's office and reluctantly left her name and number.

Soon after, she received this message on her voicemail: "...I spoke with the mayor and he had received your message that you had sent in today. What we need you to do is put everything in writing and you can fax it to us, e-mail it to us, you can drop it off here at the office."

Brian Schwartz, the mayor's spokesperson, told News 11, "We would need a name. Obviously, the mayor wants to know who he is talking to."

Schwartz says if you want to talk to Mayor Finkbeiner directly to report crimes, problems, or anything else, you have to leave your name and phone number. But if you want to just leave information, you can do so without attaching your name.

"We encourage people to report criminal activity and we want to re-enforce the fact that they can do so anonymously," he said.

Eastside neighbors say criminals have made threats against people who've helped police.

The woman who spoke with us said, "There's good neighbors that are moving out of the neighborhood because of the problem."

Schwartz says the mayor, after talking to you, could very well pass the info on to police -- along with your name.

"We would forward all the information we have to the police department," he said. "We don t withhold information from the police department."

Trouble is, if that information -- including a name, address, and phone number -- ended up on a police report, anyone could gain access to it. And by "anyone," we mean even the criminals.

Schwartz told us, "If the person said, 'Mayor please don t bring my name into it,' the mayor may be inclined not to do so."

He added that "there's no hard, fast policy on this."

The potential that her name could end up in the hands of the criminals has the woman we talked to worried.

"Who knows if the name will get out," she said. "If they do anything, who's to say that somebody may find out and then you fear retaliation against you."

Posted by PJS