TOLEDO, Ohio — Toledo safety officials including Police Chief George Kral reported the city's crime numbers to city council's public safety committee Tuesday evening, saying violent crime is down by most statistics.
On the surface, the numbers are good. But Kral said it's not enough.
"9% reduction in homicides," he said. "Yeah, it looks good, but it's still 60 people who lost their lives this year."
As of the council meeting, Toledo had seen two homicides in the last 24 hours. As of Tuesday night, there have been 61 homicides in Toledo in 2022.
This report was followed by public comment, which included former mayor Carty Finkbeiner, who wants to see council members engage more with the community.
"You need to do that more than you're doing it because I don't see empathy, compassion, the heart going out," the former Toledo mayor said.
Finkbeiner is a co-founder of the Coalition for Peaceful Toledo Neighborhoods, a group that wants to see more money for block watch groups in the next budget.
Current Mayor Wade Kapszukiewciz said the city isn't happy with the number of homicides either, but he is encouraged by the progress. As for community engagement, he said it should be a priority for the Toledo Police Department.
"There's a need for officers to get out of their cars, develop relationships in the neighborhoods, walk the beat, and I think that's something we're committed to do as we grow the size of the police force, but to hear it reinforced was helpful," Kapszukiewicz said.
Council can pass the budget beginning the first Monday in January and will have until the end of the month of March to do so.
Council itself has seen differing ideas recently on how to reduce violence in the city. Council members George Sarantou and Theresa Morris introduced a resolution at the Nov. 16 council meeting to "restrengthen" block watches and involve community groups in efforts to reduce crime and violence in Toledo, with the assistance of the Coalition for Peaceful Toledo Neighborhoods.
The resolution faced pushback from other council members who said the concept of what a Toledo block watch is needs to be revised and that council efforts to reduce violence need to focus on programs the city has already invested money in, such as the violence interrupter program.
It was up for a second reading at council Tuesday but was held until Dec. 20.
Also at Tuesday's council meeting, Council member George Sarantou said a special committee has been formed to review the job posting for the fired city auditor. Sarantou said the committee consists of himself and council members Theresa Morris and Katie Moline, as requested by Cherry.
Moline has been vocal in recent weeks about her distaste for how council handled the ongoing situation with city auditor Jake Jaksetic, who was officialy fired on Nov. 22 in a 7-4 vote after being suspended by council in early November.