TOLEDO (WTOL) - So far this year, the City of Toledo has seen 39 homicides. Three of those ruled were justifiable by a grand jury. Of the remaining 36 homicides, four were victims younger than three-years-old.
This topic drew several questions for Toledo's Mayor at the final Wednesdays with Wade at the Birmingham Branch Library. One of the biggest questions is how the city plans to address gun violence.
Toledo Police Chief George Kral and Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said crime is actually decreasing in the city across the board. They are encouraged by that, but also know gun violence needs to be addressed. The mayor said he is willing to try anything including new technology.
Chief Kral outlined crime statistics for about 40 neighbors Wednesday.
He expects a six to ten percent decrease in crime across the city this year compared to 2017. While neighbors admit it doesn’t always feel like it, they are glad the numbers prove that to be true.
“I thank God that the crime is going down,” said Joyce Morris, a South Toledo neighbor. “I pray constantly that it will stop.”
This year TPD confiscated more than 1,000 guns, $7 million in narcotics and put additional officers on the streets.
While this is good news, the mayor knows there is more work to be done.
“As crime has gone down across the board there is still a problem that we have with violent crime in this community, especially crimes that involve guns,” said Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz.
To address some of the shooting incidents the city received grant dollars to help fund $492,000 technology called shot spotter. It’s an audio program that locates where gun shots are fired that information goes to dispatch and they are able to send officers directly to the location of the shots fired.
The mayor said right now only about 20 percent of shootings are called into 911, this technology would increase that to 100%.
“Look we understand this isn’t going to solve all of our problems either,” said Kapszukiewicz. “But it’s putting our officers in the best position to succeed and it is a part of our commitment to try anything and everything that we think can help make Toledo a safe community.”
The shot spotter technology will be set up in crime dense areas and is expected next year. Neighbors liked the idea and think it will help.
“I think the new technology is great,” said Ginny Mojzesz, a Toledo neighbor at Wednesday’s meeting. “If that can get them to the scene quicker, it may save lives.”
"I think it's great what they're trying to implement and I know that they continue to try things," said Joyce Morris.
Other neighbors wanted answers on police training and the blue light cameras.
“Currently the lights we have, what are they doing?” asked a neighbor during the meeting.
While the mayor didn’t have every answer, he committed to talk with the chief to seek the best way to move into the new year and address crime in the most effective manner.
The mayor said they have committed to another police class of 40, continuing their promise to grow the police department and their efforts in the streets.