Cleveland continues to see its crime rate spike–specifically its murder rate–as two men were murdered in separate incidents Friday night. Cleveland police report that homicides are up 25 percent over last year, with overall shootings up around 32 percent. While most of the activity is taking place in the city’s Fourth District, the amount of violence worries long-time residents.
Friday night’s murders played out in the same tragic fashion as other homicides–both resulting in the senseless deaths of two men.
In the first incident, two men were watching basketball together on TV, when one of the men, who police say may have been under the influence of the dangerous hallucinogenic PCP, began acting strangely. According to reports, the 36 year old suspect pulled a gun on the 41 year old victim, which caused a fight. During the scuffle, the gun fired, hitting the victim in the torso.
Perhaps most disturbingly, beyond the pointless death by someone who appeared to be at least an acquaintance, is the fact that several other people were in the home at the time of the shooting. The shooter allegedly fired his weapon toward the people as he ran out of the home, thankfully no other people were injured. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
As police were working the crime scene, the suspect returned, was identified by detectives, and was arrested.
Friday’s other homicide involved the violent death of a 24 year old man who was gunned down on the sidewalk. Police are asking the public to come forward with any information they might have about a suspect, as clues in the case are few.
What they do know is that the victim was shot multiple times around 10:45pm in the South Broadway neighborhood.
There is no word on whether the authorities believe it was a random shooting or may have involved gang activity or drugs.
Cleveland is Ohio’s most populous city–weighing in at almost 400,000 residents, yet seems to have many of the urban crime problems of cities much bigger than itself. Along with the increase in murders, the city has also seen rising problems with violent crime, assault, robbery, and property damage. Interestingly, although there has been a steady increase of overall crime in the city, most of it is located in certain neighborhoods. Despite this, many residents view their home as being dangerous and city leaders believe this reputation has damaged the city’s economy as it keeps tourists and potential businesses away.
As recently as 2008, Cleveland was listed as being the 7th most dangerous city in the United States among cities with similar populations, and the 11th most dangerous out of all cities, regardless of their population or demographics.
Still, many Clevelanders love their city and want to shine a spotlight on its good attributes: a beautiful waterfront skyline, a thriving downtown business district, and many family friendly neighborhoods that cater to young professionals just getting started building their lives. They still believe in the ideas expressed in the city’s motto–that progress and prosperity are alive and well in The Forest City.