CLEVELAND - Refusing to let the recent tide of violence on the east side of Cleveland be their jailer, a group of 19 will enter a three day class Tuesday to be among the first to get personal protection devices secured by Ward 2 Councilman Zack Reed.
The 180 panic alarms and 70 pepper spray devices will be given out to those that graduate next week.
"They are going to learn how to use the mace. Before they grab the mace they need to learn how to use it," said Reed. The devices were bought with a $2,500 grant given by Wal-Mart last month.
The three-day training class is about three hours long and will take place on Union Avenue at the Thea Bowman Center.
The Neighborhood Watch is normally a three-week program lasting two hours per class. The goal of the class is to have "more eyes on the street to combat neighborhood nuisances," said Communications Director for City Council James Kopniske.
This all comes as a rash of violence patrolled the streets of the cities east side since March leaving many afraid to walk along East 93rd street. Jazmine Trotter was killed in March with the body left under a porch.
Christine Malone's body was found off East 93rd on Bessemer after being found by children. Ashley Leszyeski's body was found off East 93rd along Anderson Avenue. Police have not made any arrests in any of these cases.
"We still don't have a person," said Reed. "So that means this individual or individuals are still roaming through our community. So until this person or persons is caught we have to teach our women to protect themselves," he continued.
They're also looking for suspects in two attacks along East 116th Street, where the women got away. Police have not said if any of these attacks are related.
NewsChannel5 has also learned that police are looking to see if the recent disappearance of 18-year-old Shirellda Terry may be connected. The source said on condition of anonymity that it's possible that someone connected to the East 93rd street attacks could have targeted a new area because of the media attention on East 93rd Street.
Reed, who is a proponent of putting cameras throughout the city said the cameras along Warner should be up and running this week. Some financial issues have kept them out of service but he said the hope is to catch prostitutes, drug dealers, or even kidnappings in the act. He hopes the cameras will help deter crime. There have been no cameras that have caught any of the attacks along 93rd.
The three-day class will be combined with the previous class that spent eight weeks in training. The total number expected to graduate in a ceremony next week is more than 50. Along with their device of choice, they will be given a certificate, and neighborhood watch sign for their home.
"We are empowering our residents on how to improve their personal safety through workshops and programs," said Reed.