Toledo city council aims to reenergize its Block Watch program

Resolution may reenergize Toledo Block Watch program
Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 7:52 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The energization of Toledo’s block watch program is the topic of discussion for Toledo City Council this week.

The program has seen some challenges over the years but supporters believe it can really make a difference in what’s become a violent time.

Toledo’s block watch program is not dead. In fact, its organizer told 13abc there are 35 to 40 active groups. However, more are always needed and residents may soon see a renewed effort to include more groups.

Driving through Toledo, you may have noticed the yellow signs. The signs, signal a block-watch neighborhood, meaning people gather to discuss crime issues and problems they see.

“We try to give them information that will be helpful to them. It doesn’t solve all crimes, it doesn’t stop all crime,” said Florence McLennan, Toledo’s Block Watch leader.

McLennan oversees the Toledo program. She said some leaders have gotten older and it’s harder to recruit young people.

Some groups have not held in-person events since COVID and some have focused mainly on working digitally and sharing messages on places like Facebook. No matter the medium of communication there’s no giving up on the program.

“I don’t see it going away,” said McLennan.

Toledo City Councilman George Sanrantou said the city needs more eyes when it comes to crime.

“We just need more help in the city to combat the rise in crime,” he said.

Toledo City Council members Sarantou and Theresa Morris have sponsored a resolution urging the re-establishment of the block watch community program and are working together to fight gun violence.

Both Sarantou and Morris are hoping this initiative brings new members to the table or pushes former members to get back involved.

“We can win this war on crime in Toledo but we have to get more involvement from everybody,” said Sarantou.

Tuesday’s resolution doesn’t allocate any new money for block watch, but a new awareness.

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