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Pleas for city support at Westwood anti-violence forum

WCPO westwood antiviolence.png
Posted at 5:41 AM, Jul 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-02 07:02:10-04

CINCINNATI — Things have gotten worse in Westwood over the last five years, residents told City Council members and police on Thursday night — and fixing the problem of recurring violence will require much more than arrests.

Members of the community, where a man was fatally shot in his car June 24 and two children were shot June 13, said Westwood residents need support and anti-violence measures in their daily lives.

Some advocated for more job programs to help older teens and young adults find work; others said they wanted city-funded rec programs for children to keep them off the streets.

Councilman and mayoral candidate David Mann, who attended alongside Councilmember Betsy Sundermann and police Lt. Col. Lisa Davis, said he hoped city leaders would meet some of those goals by securing $2.5 million for a Boys and Girls Club in the neighborhood.

"As the year unfolds and the funds perhaps become available, I'm sure we will revisit that,” Mann said. “Because I think there's some sense that that could have a lot to do with the problems we're talking about."

Sundermann, who organized the meeting, said she sees small adjustments like better street lighting and the formation of CATs — community action teams — as possible building blocks to a safer future.

"There's power in this room right now, you all,” said Rodney Christian, the president of the East Westwood Community Council. “I fully believe that, if we can just gather together and support each other."

Sundermann plans to hold more public safety forums in the future but has not announced dates or locations for upcoming events.