When Toledo city officials called a news conference to introduce a new neighborhood-centric strategy for rooting out violent crime in the city, they explained that the effort focused on gang and drug activity because those issues were at the root of many of the city’s homicides and other violence.
“By and large, drugs are the cause of this,” Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said.
But that assertion did not sit well with Arthur Jones Jr., a former city councilman who lives in South Toledo.
Mr. Jones took the new mayor and other city officials to task for not applying the same all-out prevention strategy to domestic violence, which was a factor in 11 of the city’s 36 homicides in 2016.
Mr. Jones, whose daughter was killed in a domestic-violence incident and who serves on the Lucas County Domestic Violence Task Force board, wondered why that type of crime did not deserve similar attention.
Mr. Jones noted that after a spike in homicides early this year, the city is authorizing more police overtime, shifting some detectives into roles that focus on gangs and the drug trade, expanding the block-watch program, and launching a neighborhood-by-neighborhood campaign to encourage residents to push back against violent crime.
But, two years ago, when the common denominator in a spike of violent crimes was domestic violence, where was the focus on preventing that?
“Go back to 2016 when 11 women lost their lives to domestic violence … and we have done nothing!”
And Mr. Jones came prepared to ask Mr. Kapszukiewicz for something specific.
The domestic violence task force joined the national “No More” public awareness campaign to end domestic violence last year. The focus of that effort was supposed to be a series of public-service announcements and advertisements aimed at destigmatizing domestic violence and encouraging residents not to turn away or ignore domestic violence when they see or suspect it.
Mr. Jones complained that while local officials were quick to praise the effort, the city and county had offered only a few hundred dollars each toward an advertising budget.
The mayor offered, on the spot, to contribute a personal donation. But the mayor, city council, Lucas County commissioners, and other public entities ought to do better than that. They ought to ante up for a decent advertising budget to support the domestic violence task force’s efforts.
The violent crime that claims lives in Toledo does not have just one root cause. And the strategies to stamp it out cannot be aimed in just one direction.
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