LORAIN, Ohio — As the city of Cleveland spent the entire summer smothered in crime, other Northeast Ohio cities could only watch and learn.
On Wednesday night, the battle against crime was front and center at a public forum in Lorain County. The meeting came after cities there, Lorain and Elyria, received millions of state dollars to help stop violence.
"Let's start at a point where we define the problem and try to tailor solutions, because some of the things we have done in the past haven't worked," Lorain Mayor Jack Bradley said.
Former prison inmate Damien Calvert also spoke at the meeting. Calvert served time in Lucasville and now is a consultant for the Urban League. He knows violence and knows what got him there.
His advice? Educate the youth. "Get inside those schools where we build up those collaborative partnerships with the community."
Lorain and Elyria are collaborating together in the fight against violence.
"We are here today, not believing we're going to solve everything tomorrow," Elyria Mayor Frank Whitfield said during his forum remarks. "But we're here to make sure we are able to tell the next generation that we did all we could to make Elyria, Lorain and our entire society better."
And to make things better, both cities filed for grants from the state of Ohio and received significant funds.
Elyria received $2.3 million over two years. Part of those funds will go toward hiring and retaining officers. Currently the Elyria Police Department has 80 and can hire 20 more. Meanwhile, Lorain received $600,000 from the state. Fortunately for them, staffing police is not their problem.
"You gotta pay people to put on a bulletproof vest, carry a 9mm weapon and tell their family everyday that 'I might not be home," added Bradley. "We appreciate what our police officers do for us."
And what they all want to do is get the felons off the street, educate kids on the consequences of crime, and avoid a summer of violence like in Cleveland.
The Lorain County Urban League hosted Wednesday night's forum and will pilot the crime programs initiated by both cities.
More from 3News:
- Police investigating after BMW carjacking at corner of East 9th and Carnegie Avenue in downtown Cleveland
- Case Western Reserve University to pay for cost of attendance for all admitted Cleveland, East Cleveland public high school graduates
- Medina County deputies investigating possible hate crimes against Amish
- Church in Cleveland's Old Brooklyn neighborhood has endured multiple burglaries