Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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Blade obtains Toledo’s map of gang territories

Source provides police department’s document

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    Alton Williams, a former member of LBV, or Lawrence Blood Villains, says the newspaper's map shows newer gangs and is 'probably more hands-on' because The Blade had gang members show more precisely where the gangs were located.

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Alton Williams, a former member of LBV, or Lawrence Blood Villains, says the newspaper's map shows newer gangs and is 'probably more hands-on' because The Blade had gang members show more precisely where the gangs were located.

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After more than a year-long court battle with the city of Toledo over access to its police gang map, The Blade has obtained a copy of the map.



The city document was given to The Blade by a source who is neither a representative of the police department nor the city law department.

Citing an ongoing lawsuit, Toledo police and city officials declined to comment on Monday, or to review the map obtained by The Blade.

In July, 2012, The Blade sued the city in the state's 6th District Court of Appeals for refusing to make public the police department's gang map.

“I can't confirm whether what you have is the investigatory tool used by the police department or not and, aside from that, it is considered pending litigation so we will not discuss it any further,” said city spokesman Jen Sorgenfrei.

Police spokesman Sgt. Joe Heffernan said, “Since we have a pending court case on this, we're not going to comment on whatever you have.”

The city's map, branded with the Toledo police and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms logos, shows 18 gangs and identifies each by nation: Bloods, Crips, Folks, Mexican Mafia, and “unaffiliated.” The map also shows the approximate location of three motorcycle clubhouses. 

The greatest discrepancy between the city's map and a map produced by The Blade is the number of gangs featured on each.

The Blade's map, which published on April 28 as part of a four-day series about gangs in Toledo and was produced with the help of former and active gang members and police sources, shows 49 gangs.

“Yours is more detailed,” said Alton Williams, 31, a former member of the Lawrence Blood Villains who was featured in the first day of the “Battle Lines: Gangs of Toledo” series. “You have some of the newer gangs on there. Yours is probably more hands-on because you had actual people show you where the gangs are.”

Roshawn Jones, 24, who works with young people in gangs and runs Soul City Boxing, a central-city boxing gym, agreed.



“It seems like yours is more detailed where their map is more approximate,” Mr. Jones said as he reviewed both maps Monday afternoon.



The city's map appears to have been created more than a year ago.



In an April interview with The Blade, Lt. Ed Bombrys, who oversees the department's Gang Unit, said there are anywhere from 25 to 40 “big, major gangs” and an estimated 2,000 gang members in the city.

Included with the map that The Blade obtained was supplemental information explaining which gangs were rivals and, in some instances, why some gangs were feuding.

At the time the city’s gang data and information was written about the Manor Boyz, a Bloods gang that claims territory that includes and surrounds Moody Manor, a low-income apartment complex in the central city, Montrese Moore, a Manor Boyz member, was the city's most recent homicide victim.

Moore, 19 was shot and killed on March 16, 2012, at Gas & Go, at Cherry and Bancroft streets during an argument over gang territory.

According to the city fact sheets, the Cherrywood Crips, who claim the Greenbelt Place Apartments and several surrounding streets, are mainly rivals with the Manor Boyz, reportedly because a former Crip flipped and joined the Manor, a Bloods gang.

On the city's gang map, but not shown on The Blade's, is Sureno 13, which has spray-painted gang tags — as SUR-13 — in parts of the Old South End. On the city's map, however, the gang, reportedly affiliated with the “Mexican Mafia,” is plotted in North Toledo, between East Central and Bronson avenues at F Street.

There are other discrepancies, most notably the size of territories claimed by gangs.

The territory for X Blocc, Crips, on the city's map is the largest gang area, encompassing an area north of West Central Avenue from Maplewood to Stickney avenues.

A member of X Blocc who helped create The Blade's version of the map put the gang in roughly the same area, but stopped the territory at Streicher Street, just a few blocks shy of Stickney.

Police also affiliate the Out Hill Boys as Bloods. Numerous gang sources, including a member of the gang, said the gang does not have an affiliation but operates as a gang, primarily for drug sales.

After The Blade published its version of gang territories, Mayor Mike Bell said on a Sunday morning television program that the map caused a 300 percent increase in shootings in the week after publication.

The city provided no anecdotal evidence to prove the claim, which gang sources and Mr. Jones dispute.

“The map didn't make people want to go shoot each other,” said Mr. Jones, who was also featured in Battle Lines. “The problem, what's wrong with these kids in these gangs, is no one wants to help them. … No one else wants to put time into them, talk to them, teach people how to diffuse situations. … The only way they know how to diffuse situations is gun violence.”

Contact Taylor Dungjen at, or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.

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