Mayor's Corner: Safety Is Number One Priority

Safety remains the number one priority for Lakewood – we hear this from our residents on a daily basis and we share this overarching goal for our community. Recently, some high profile crimes have occurred in our city, and we want to use this opportunity to provide an update on safety efforts in Lakewood.

As you probably are aware, we have seen a rise in violent crime nationwide recently, and local communities in Ohio have suffered from the same disturbing trend. In late September, the FBI released its annual uniform crime report. The FBI’s data showed that after reaching a low point in violent crimes in 2014, our nation has seen a disturbing uptick in these most concerning crimes – and that has been especially true over the past two years.

Unfortunately, Lakewood is not immune to the national trends, as shown by the recent high profile robberies. We can assure you that our police are fully aware of these trends – we are studying them to understand their impact for our city, and then taking affirmative steps to address these them.

When crimes like robberies (including car jackings) have occurred, our officers have demonstrated a strong track record of identifying offenders and bringing them to justice. An arrest already has been made in one of the cases from November, and our police continue to investigate the others robberies. In our respective roles as mayor and chief of police, we are in constant conversation on how to keep improving our strategic approach to crime prevention in Lakewood, and how to be proactive overall in our approach to safety.

It’s important to note that our police force is fully staffed to patrol the city and perform follow up investigations. The number of officers is not a current concern, and we continue to bring in new officers to ensure that we maintain capacity as officers retire over time. This year, we also have made significant investments to provide additional and upgraded equipment to help officers. That includes gear like radios, flashlights, and vehicles, but also the 40 new cameras installed citywide that are crucial to prevention and investigation. We also take a holistic view on crime prevention, so part of our strategy in Lakewood includes the dollars we have dedicated to homelessness prevention (especially during the pandemic) – this is a testament to the character of our community, and helps reduce the number of those who turn to crime in our community.

We want to close by thanking those of you who have reached out to share your concerns and offer words of support. We understand and share you concerns, and are committed to working together to continue keeping Lakewood safe.

Volume 17, Issue 24, Posted 12:10 PM, 12.01.2021