CLEVELAND -- Cleveland police say the city's two largest safety issues are gun violence and heroin.

In the Fifth District, officers have been trying to hit them both at once, weeding out hot spots for drugs, like East 185th Street and East 200th Street.

Laura Robinson instills the same message in every child she reaches at her Helping Hands Daycare, which sits on East 185th.

"Take care of your streets. Take care of your city. This is your city. I want you to grow up and I want you to love it. And I want you to stay here," said Robinson.

She's stayed on East 185th since she opened her business 22 years ago.

"I've watched the street go. ... When I first started, it was fantastic, and it's definitely gone a dip, but I also see it's slowly coming back," she said. "I'd like to see that increase, and the only way you're going to see that increase, is if you get the things off the street that should not be here."

That's what Cleveland police say they are trying to do with this initiative.

In six months, officers made 144 arrests along East 185th and East 200th and nearby side streets. Police say they were targeting both the drug users and the drug dealers, watching for hand to hand sales, car transfers, even people using heroin out in the open.

One trend cops noticed: About a third of those arrested were far from home. With addresses in Willowick, Independence and Lakewood, these 44 people seemed to use Cleveland as a meeting point.

"We had people coming into our community, buying drugs, using drugs and then going back to where they live," said Commander Dennis Hill.

Cops confiscated nearly 20 ounces of heroin, 27 grams of crack cocaine and almost 14 pounds of marijuana, as well as 24 illegal guns.

"As long as there's a demand out there, there's going to be people who are going to attempt it, but we want them to know that we're going to be coming for them. We're going to be right there," said Hill.

Hill says many of the arrests came from the community's involvement in making tips on suspicious activity. The initiative is ongoing and operating in other districts that note hot spots as well.

Robinson has noticed the increased police presence, and she hopes it could help a street that's growing again keep moving in a positive direction. She wants to the next generation to see this place differently.

"I stress all the time to these children, that these policemen are not out all the time just to arrest people. They are there to take care of you," she said. "That's the most important thing, to make sure that you have a safe place. That's the best I can do."

From December 2013 to the present, police say the following are the total results of the East 185th Street Drug Enforcement Detail:

  • Citations issued: 32
  • Guns seized: 24
  • Cash confiscated: $129,570
  • Vehicle tows: 74

Drugs confiscated:

  • Heroin 19.73 ounces
  • Crack cocaine 26.8 grams
  • Marijuana 13.87 pounds


  • Felony arrests: 116
  • Misdemeanor arrests: 26