A Channel 3 News investigation has found widespread crime in parking lots across the city of Cleveland.
The Investigator Tom Meyer examined police reports at every parking lot in the city. He found nearly 4,500 reports of crime, including armed robbery, robbery, theft, and vandalism in a 15 month period. This does not include any crimes that were not reported to police.
Nearly a 1,000 of the reported crimes occurred in an 18 block area of downtown in an area that includes the CSU Wolstein Center, Progressive Field and Quicken Loans Arena.
Downtown businessman Tony Viola was nearly stabbed to death when he was walking to his car at a lot on Prospect Avenue. "I mean the guy was coming right at me with a knife. He wanted to kill me," said Viola.
Chad Schoch parked his brand new Saturn SUV at the lot at East 9th and Carnegie across from Progressive Field. When he left work at 5 p.m. one day, he found 2 of his 4 tires gone. "It looked like my car was in a ditch," said Schoch. "I was shocked, absolutely shocked."
Cleveland Safety Director Martin Flask is drafting legislation that would require that downtown lots be staffed during hours of operation, and if they're not staffed, he wants signs warning motorists.
Cleveland police have been monitoring some downtown lots from rooftops and they believe, as a result of their surveillance, the number of auto thefts has dropped in a couple months.
While the Channel 3 News investigation found crime to be widespread in lots across the city, the downtown lots with the most reported crime are:
- Ontario & Prospect
- East 21 & Prospect
- East 9th & Carnegie
- East 18 & Prospect
- East 14 & Carnegie
Cleveland city leaders know changes are needed to minimize crime. But they also know they won't come easily, especially if it means, parking lot owners must spend some of their profits to improve security.
The Safety Director's proposed legislation must be approved by council.