The shootings hardly stop long enough for people to catch their breath.
Most of the time, the wounded are able to walk away. Others aren't so lucky.
Gangs, guns, and drugs. In Toledo, the three are wrapped together – spreading in recent years from the worst neighborhoods surrounding downtown to some of the best neighborhoods in the city.
Toledo police have mapped the spread of gangs,but Police Chief Derrick Diggs and Mayor Mike Bell have refused to make the city's gang-territories map public.
The Blade last year sued the city for the map, claiming it is a public record and the public has a right to know where gangs are operating, but with the suit tied up in court, the newspaper decided not to wait. It sent crime reporter Taylor Dungjen and photographer Amy E. Voigt into some of Toledo's toughest neighborhoods to find the people who know gangs better than the police – the gang members themselves.
Today, and over the next four days, you will read about the spread of gang violence in Toledo and the city's gang culture. The Blade will take you inside Toledo's gangs, with stories of young men and women stuck in a cycle of violence, imaginary battle lines, and an expectation they'll end up dead or in prison. Many do.
We begin with an 8-year-old boy as he "jumped-in" to the Manor Boyz, one of the most dangerous gangs in Toledo: Gangs exact bloody toll on Toledo.
Also, with the help of Toledo gang members, The Blade reveals an interactive map of Toledo gang territories at toledoblade.com/toledogangmap.
More Day One coverage:
- Gangs exact bloody toll on Toledo
- Rapper focuses on need to end strife in 'My City'
- Lil Heads member says gang is really a family
- Blade suit tries to pry gang map from city
- A message from the publisher John Robinson Block
Day One photo galleries:
- Battle Lines: Defining Boundaries
- Battle Lines: Moody Manor Gang Violence
- Battle Lines: Ex-Gang Member Alton Williams
- Battle Lines: Gang Members Map Out Territories
- 'My City'
- Defining boundaries
- A member of the Manor Boyz discusses gang life
- Interview with Aaron Belton, former Lil Heads member
- Interview with Alton Williams, former LBV member
About the series:
- Reporter: Taylor Dungjen
- Photographer: Amy E. Voigt
- Getting the gang story: How 2 Blade staffers overcame obstacles to cover Toledo's gangs