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Toledo mayor says he won't live in fear amid rising violence in west Toledo, tells residents to do the same

A recent spike in violence in west Toledo neighborhoods has left some residents afraid, but the mayor insists reductions in homicide citywide should ease concerns.

TOLEDO, Ohio — As of Sept. 22, Toledo has had 45 homicides in 2022.

Three of the last four have been in west Toledo, which has become a hotbed for crime.

Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz acknowledged the recent uptick in crime in west Toledo, but held fast to the fact that the city's homicide numbers are lower compared to last year.

He said the community has helped drive that success, such as with a series of community meetings, as seen in the Trilby Park neighborhood.

The block watch there requested the installation of more cameras in the area, and the Toledo city council not only approved, but they installed them in parks across the whole city.

Kapszukiewicz said between police operations like L.A.S.E.R., FASER, and now BLASER -- which is focusing on west Toledo -- across neighborhoods and community outreach programs like the city's violence interrupters, the city is effectively targeting the violence. He also cited those programs as likely responsible for the number of homicides dropping this year.

While Kapszukiewicz is correct that the numbers of homicides have dropped, the recent violence in west Toledo paints a different picture on a smaller scale.

Individual neighborhoods in west Toledo, like Library Village, are seeing sharp increases in homicides compared to the last two years. WTOL 11's homicide data shows there have been seven homicides in the area this year; three more than the record in 2021.

And residents WTOL 11 has spoken to say they've never seen anything like this level of violence in their neighborhoods before.

However, Kapszukiewicz said anecdotes don't translate into data, and as a resident of west Toledo himself, he said he doesn't plan to look over his shoulder every time he walks to his car.

"There is a fear industrial complex in this country, that encourages people to sometimes live in fear," Kapszukiewicz said. "I'm not going to fall for it, and I hope that Toledoans don't fall for it either. If you want to be afraid in life, you'll find a reason. But I focus on facts."

Despite west Toledo having the majority of homicides in the city, -- 13 so far this year -- there are no violence interrupters operating in that part of town as of Sept. 22.

At this time last year, there were 51 total homicides in Toledo.

RELATED: West Toledo homicide raises questions from victim's family, neighborhood residents

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