Toledo's police chief talks crime, safety and other issues in community report

TOLEDO, Ohio (13abc Action News) - Toledoans like Sharon Gerschutz are tired of seeing crime and violence play out on their streets.

"We all want to make our neighborhoods feel safe again," said Gerschutz.

During a State of the Department Monday night, Chief George Kral let citizens know that his officers are on top of the issue.

"We're going to try to formulate a plan—that we're going to address the crime based on what the data tells us," said Kral.

Data shows the overall crime rate is down in the Glass City by 11.2 percent so far for 2017. But it's hard to ignore things like 37 murders, one shy of last year's number.

"Where there's drugs there's guns and where there's guns something bad happens," said Kral.

Chief Kral says in 42 percent of this year's murders, the victim or killer were gang members and it's an issue he's working to fix.

"We have a problem that we need to address," said Kral. "That's why I put four more officers into the gang task force and when this class graduates I intend on bumping it up even more."

When it comes to drugs on Toledo's streets, the chief says so far this year more than $16 million worth of narcotics have been confiscated by officers.

"That's not even scratching the surface," said Kral. "That's just what we've caught."

With plans to have 80 new officers on patrol by 2019, Chief Kral is confident his department will continue to curb violence in the city, and Toledoans like Gerschutz are ready to help.

"I am 100 percent behind them and want to be with them working on this program—anything we can do to help," said Gerschutz.

Looking to the future, Chief Kral says he plans to use data and technology to address crime trends in the city.

He also hopes to continue with his community conversations and officer visibility in Toledo's neighborhoods.