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Toledo’s Mayor says violence solutions could take a while

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 9:50 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - After another weekend of violence in the city, Toledo mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz says stopping the issues that lead to violent crime will take a while.

Last year, the city hit a record for homicides, and with half the year still ahead, 2021 is on track to do it again. Speaking with 13abc the mayor said he believes he has the right police chief and personnel in place.

“I think policing is only one part of the solution,” said Kapszukiewicz. “I think it is wrong and simplistic to say the only thing we need to do is address a spike in crime is police policies or hiring police. That’s certainly a part of it. Absolutely it’s a part of it.”

Kapszukiewicz says attacking things like poverty and investing in kids are long-term structural fixes. He also said his initiative to eliminate gun violence and the addition of violence interrupters will take time.

“That’s not an investment that’s going to pay off this year. It might not pay off next year. It might take a couple of years,” said Kapszukiewicz. “Most politicians don’t make those investments because of what’s happening right now. They feel the immediate pressure to do something when in reality the best way to address what’s happening is to invent a time machine and go back 10 years and invest in the lives of these kids making these decisions.”

For Toledoans that are asking for a quick fix now. That’s the tough part.

“I think we are doing… we are being aggressive. We are making decisions that have never been made before in this city,” said Kapszukiewicz.

Kapszukiewicz says he’s adding more police officers but that alone isn’t the only solution. He says adding a summer youth jobs program and recreation programs are some of the start to hopefully turn the trends around.

Former mayor and current mayoral candidate, Carty Finkbeiner, released his own plan to curb the violence earlier on Monday. That plan includes legislative goals, like introducing anti-gun legislation banning certain firearms in the city, and creating a partnership between Toledo police and federal agencies to increase law enforcement presence. It also includes community initiatives, like a youth-staffed city beautification program, drop-boxes for residents to leave information on public safety, and increasing the number of Blockwatch programs.

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