Oxford neighbors share concerns with City

Councilman Tumeo (standing) listens to the Oxford audience as Assistant Manager O'Neill looks on (in red).  Photo credit Sarah Wean.

Fifty Oxford residents invited Cleveland Heights Councilman Mark Tumeo to hear their concerns about crime, unruly youth, and distressed properties the other night and he vowed to go to bat for them at city hall.

During a March 30 meeting at Oxford Elementary School, Tumeo and Assistant City Manager Susanna Niermann O'Neil spoke candidly with the group about daily challenges in the community and how citizens and the city can work together to meet them.

Speaking to criminal acitivity in their area, Tumeo, chair of the Public Safety and Health Committee, said statistics indicated the number of crimes is not up.  However the use of weapons and the intensity of violent crime are increasing.

"We've seen an expansion of behaviors we wouldn't normally associate with Cleveland Heights," Tumeo said.  He cited the economic and foreclosure crises as factors contributing to the type of crimes being committed.

In response to their requests Tumeo vowed to work on three goals: more efficient communication between the police and citizens of Oxford, an increase in police patrols on their streets, and the creation of a police outpost in their neighborhood.  

The group will continue to meet to explore setting up phone and e-mail trees, increasing neighborhood events to promote stronger ties, and creating more efficient links to the police department and city hall. And they will explore formal models of citizen action, including Ohio City's e-mail crime alerts, and the national Crime Stoppers program.

Calling their effort "a necessary first step in neighborhood organizing" Tumeo wanted the residents to hold him accountable for promoting their cause.  "Call me," he said.

Sarah Wean is a FutureHeights volunteer.

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Volume 2, Issue 4, Posted 4:56 PM, 03.31.2009