Security program seeks to make Clark Metro area safer
by Kelly Pierce

(Plain Press, March 2006) A drive through the intersection of Clark and W. 25th Street might suggest that the area seems cleaner, brighter and supports less criminal activity then in previous years.

Thanks to concerned residents, merchants and the Clark Metro Development Corporation, the Clark and 25th area is seeing a comeback.

“We are going to take back our community,” said Steve Kruger, Clark Metro Development Corporation’s executive director. “We do not want the prostitutes and drug dealers in our neighborhood.  The streets belong to us and we will take back our streets.”
Many of the business owners in the area believe that in order for a neighborhood to flourish, the streets need to be safe and protected from local crime.

The Security Patrol program, which was initiated in September 2004, is staffed by two Cleveland police officers, two days a week for four hours per day. Police officers are able to provide visibility and a presence to the area, taking note on what kind of criminal activity is going on and coming up with ways to stop and prevent it.

“We can’t make crime go away,” said Cleveland police officer Mark Tescar, who patrols the area. “This area is the businesses’ livelihood. We must have a plan of attack, and this is the first step.”

Since the program’s start, more than 50 arrests have been made and an attempted abduction of an 11- year-old girl was stopped.
Since criminals are less prone to criminal activity in the presence of cameras, a second step to provide security to the area was to install security cameras on all four corners on Clark and W. 25th.

Other provisions that have been taken by the area’s merchants and Clark Metro involved providing more lighting to neighboring parking lots and making bus shelters more accessible to patrons by moving them to better locations.

One such bus shelter, located in front of Let’s Wrap Café, is in the planning stage to be relocated.  “It has been a nightmare for me on that corner,” said business owner Brent Thompson for Let’s Wrap Café. “There are drug deals in daylight, beer bottles all along the sidewalks and drunks on the bus shelter’s benches—they’re party huts after 2:30 am.”

Additional clean up projects and security efforts are in the works. Clark Metro is soon to start an Anti-Graffiti Program for preventing and eliminating graffiti thought community involvement, removal and enforcement.

With the programs’ success, Clark Metro hopes it will be able to attract more business owners in the area to participate. Currently, there are about 15 businesses in the program, while there are 100 merchants in the area. “If we can pull together,” Thompson said, “we can better our business and our community.”

 

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