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Local News

Public Safety Forum In Westwood This Week

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A Cincinnati council member is hosting a public safety forum in Westwood this week. Betsy Sundermann says residents across the city feel unsafe, citing gun violence and pedestrian deaths.

Sundermann says she's heard from dozens of people in East Westwood, where two children and two teenagers were injured in a shooting earlier this month.

"When we had our Juneteenth ceremony outside of City Hall, there was a man disrupting the ceremony by screaming, 'Justice for East Westwood,' " Sundermann said. "He wouldn't stop screaming, and he just doesn't feel heard. That's what I've heard from citizens — they just don't feel like we're taking it seriously or listening to them."

Many major cities saw a spike in violent crime during the pandemic. Cincinnati had the highest number of shootings in a decade last year, and a record 94 homicides. Shootings are down about 15% compared to this time last year.

Sundermann says a Cincinnati Police Department representative will be at the forum. She says she wants to hear how crime has affected neighborhoods and crowdsource possible solutions.

"We are welcoming church leaders, victims' advocacy leaders, social justice leaders, anybody," Sundermann said. "Please come so we can have as many voices at the table as we can."

Sundermann is planning a series of public safety forums across the city, especially in neighborhoods most affected by violent crime.

"We'll see how this goes and which neighborhoods come to this, and then we will roll out the next one," she said.

The first forum is Thursday, July 1 at 6 p.m. at the Madcap Education Center. It's open to residents of any Cincinnati neighborhood.