June 07, 2006

Councilman Compares Cleveland Teens To Terrorists

Cleveland City Councilman Zach Reed wants to help curb crime and drugs, especially among teens in his community.

"These are modern-day terrorists," Reed said.

He said there is little that separates the drug dealers and street criminals that keep citizens in his southeast Cleveland ward from leaving their homes and the terrorists who would look to attack our country.

Reed is urging council to fight violence the same way they would fight terrorism.

"Therefore, the time has come to make Ward 3 a police state and submit a true zero-tolerance policy," Reed said.

He said he's received permission to use a $50,000 federal grant to hire off-duty police officers with arrest powers to patrol the streets of Mt. Pleasant.

"We will be implementing the same policing strategy as my Shaker Heights neighbors, which do not allow loitering on their street corners," he said.

Reed also has another grant to install more security cameras in his ward.

Crime was reduced more than 70 percent in the area where the first cameras were installed.

City leaders said Cleveland is no different than most cities when it comes to youth violence, and while they support the councilman's intention, they take issue with his wording.

"To take it to the step of declaring martial law, that's not in the interest of our community," said Public Safety Director Martin Flask.

The extra patrols could hit the streets as early as next week.


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