Chief Drummond at Public Safety Presser Aug 16

Taking a Big Picture Approach to Curbing Violent Crime in Cleveland


Tuesday, August 16, 2022—Cleveland—Mayor Justin M. Bibb, Chief Director of Public Safety Karrie D. Howard, Chief of Police Dornat “Wayne” Drummond, Chief of Youth and Family Success Sonya Pryor-Jones, Commissioner of Health Equity and Social Justice Lita Wills, Council President Blaine A. Griffin, and Councilman and Safety Committee Chair Mike Polensek met with members of the media earlier today to discuss public safety and the Cleveland Division of Police midyear report, which provides a by-the-numbers look at the first half of 2022.  

Highlights of the report include a decrease in arrests, 911 calls and gun seizures, the successful work of targeted district and citywide Violent Crime Reduction Teams, how Cleveland is increasingly utilizing law enforcement partnerships, and the increased visibility of officers “walking the beat” in the neighborhoods through mandatory park and walks for all patrol officers working first and second shifts.  

But that’s only one part of the story.  

The Bibb Administration is taking a comprehensive look at crime in the city that includes a continuum of prevention, intervention, communication, and community building activities as well as law enforcement strategies and advocacy at the state and national levels.  

“There is no one answer to reducing gun violence and crime in our city,” said Mayor Justin M. Bibb. “We must be thoughtful, creative, and—most importantly—working closely with the community to deploy resources where they make a real impact.” 

One area of focus this summer has been providing additional services for families and programming to give young Clevelanders meaningful activities that focus on positive outcomes. These activities include expanded programming at the city’s 22 Neighborhood Resource and Recreation Centers, which are staffed with social support specialists trained in trauma informed care and helping residents navigate services, doubling the budget for the municipal league football program and the successful first season of Hoops After Dark with the Cleveland Cavaliers, a 2022 midnight basketball reboot that wrapped up yesterday with a championship game at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.  

The Division of Public Safety has also been involved in a host of programs over the summer that put professionals from police, fire, EMS and animal care and control into the community to meet residents in the neighborhoods with the goal of having conversations in a positive environment and building trust. These included the city’s first-ever Public Safety Week, the recent Mayor’s Night Out Against Crime events, fire department open house events across the city, senior walks, and events geared toward Cleveland’s kids like “Fishing with a Cop” on Lake Erie and the recent Youth & Law Enforcement event at Camp Forbes.  

“We genuinely want to be in the community interacting in a positive way with residents,” said Chief of Police Wayne Drummond. “If people know and trust us, we can do our jobs that much more effectively. When I served as commander in the fifth district, relationships with residents were key to the improvements we were able to make. Working with Clevelanders is how we build safer neighborhoods for everyone.”  

Under the direction of Mayor Bibb and the leadership of Cleveland’s Chief of Youth and Family Success Sonya Pryor-Jones, a violence prevention working group comprised of city leaders has been meeting weekly to consolidate the city’s cross-departmental programs and resources into an overarching framework that continues to expand on this community-focused approach. The goal is not just to improve public safety but to also address the root causes of violence and build up protective factors that may stop violence before it starts.  

“We are focused on getting resources into our neighborhoods while simultaneously working on a theory of change that will have generational impact,” said Pryor-Jones. “We continue to identify and assess violence prevention programs and work on meaningful metrics to see what’s actually helping and what isn’t. It won’t happen overnight, but we believe this is the right approach and that the evidence over time will bear that out.” 

>> Learn more about Mayor Bibb’s violence prevention strategy.