TOLEDO, Ohio — Ida's Catering in west Toledo was opened 40 years ago by the mother and daughter duo of Ida and Cindy Campbell.
Since then, Cindy Campbell said she has adapted how she runs the Bennett Road business for more employee safety as her and her staff have grown increasingly used to the sound of passing police sirens.
Interim Toledo police chief Mike Troendle said Tuesday during a Five Points neighborhood safety meeting that the area has seen a recent uptick in violence, which was targeted to be reduced by TPD's Operation FASER in 2022.
The meeting, held just minutes away from Ida's at the Eleanor Kahle Senior Center, was always planned as a follow-up to FASER, Troendle said. Coincidentally, two 14-year-olds were shot nearby just one week prior. One of those teenagers was shot nearby the senior center at the intersection of Hillcrest Avenue and Willys Parkway.
Both victims survived, but the week-old shootings were some of the latest instances of violent crime in the Glass City. Since Dec. 5, 2022, there have been five juvenile homicide victims in Toledo.
As of Wednesday evening, there have been five homicides in Toledo in 2023. The city saw 66 homicides in 2022 and 70 in 2021.
Campbell said that while Ida's Catering hasn't been directly impacted by violent crime, it's not much of a target -- there are no windows to smash and being a catering business, they don't have any customers coming to the door.
But, she does have to make sure her staff doesn't lock up alone at night, and she refuses any catering orders that will keep them later than 10-11 p.m.
"The neighborhood has just gone downhill," she said. "It's socioeconomic decline."
Campbell's outlook on the neighborhood's perceived decline aligned with the opinions of other Five Points residents at Tuesday's meeting.
Many attendees did not want to show their faces or use their names due to fears of retaliation.
"I don't think there is a solution to all this," one attendee said. "I think parents need to parent their own kids."
Doom and gloom is not a wholly dominant perspective of Five Points, though.
Tina Scott, president of the west Toledo neighborhood association, said Tuesday that fear needs to end if anything is going to change.
"We are stronger than the criminals, we are more than the criminals," Scott said. We are the voices of the community and we're going to take our neighborhood back."
She called upon the Toledo community for unification.
"Let's pull together as a community because if we cannot do that as a community then we have failed as a city," Scott said.
Despite safety concerns, Campbell remains steadfast as a business owner and said no amount of crime will stop her from running Ida's Catering. She and her mother had renovated the once-condemned building, and she said she plans to continue baking in it regardless of what's going on outside of its four walls.