After a series of violent crimes in Tremont, including the shooting of local artist Jeff Chiplis, the safety of the eclectic and statistically safe Cleveland nook has been on the minds of residents and politicians. Councilman Joe Cimperman, along with the Tremont West Development Group, organized a meeting Monday with residents and police to voice their concerns and brainstorm on solutions. Tremont may have 25% less crime than the rest of the city, but incidents like the Chiplis shooting still send shockwaves through the tight community.
Residents vowed to be more vigilant — even in a neighborhood where the overall crime rate is about 25 percent lower than the city of Cleveland overall, according to a 2009 survey of crime statistics by The Plain Dealer.
The crowd gave 2nd District Police Commander Keith Sulzer rousing applause after his presentation when he complimented the community for its stand against crime.
"Only in Tremont would you get a turnout like this and that says a lot about this neighborhood," he said. But Sulzer also told the crowd never to turn and run from an assailant as Chiplis did when shot in the back.
Nearly every speaker and every citizen also agreed on one thing — the need to look out for each other.
"As The Plain Dealer editorial said, 'See things, say things,' " said Dean Malaker of the development corporation. "Call. Attend meetings. Let the police and your neighbors know if there are children out after curfew. Notice suspicious activity."
Henry Senyak was lauded as an exemplary citizen. Senyak has documented how many street lights are out in the area and pestered Cleveland Public Power often enough that CPP recently replaced over 2,000 burned out bulbs, over half the number documented by Senyak.
"We're Tremont and we fight back," Cimperman said. "If one guy can single-handedly get 2,000 some lights turned back on, what can each of us do? Tremont always succeeds when it succeeds together."