Councilman John R. Swierz, D-7th, wants to use yard signs in an effort to reduce crime in his ward.
Swierz is offering 95 signs that read, “Crime. Report It. Don’t Support It,” to residents of the 7th Ward, which is in the city’s southeastern portion.
“We need the participation of citizens” to fight crime, he said Wednesday. “We think this is a first step in the process.”
Having the signs in neighborhoods hopefully will encourage people to take a more active role in reporting crime, said Guy Burney, coordinator of the city’s Community Initiative to Reduce Violence program.
“We hope this catches fire and becomes more active in the neighborhoods,” he said.
Those in the 7th Ward wanting signs can call Swierz at 330-788-5114.
The cost for the 95 signs is $350 and came from Swierz’s city discretionary fund that permits council members to spend up to $10,000 annually for worthwhile community projects and for council-related travel expenses such as National League of Cities conferences.
“I want to see [the signs] go on residential properties,” Swierz said.
Crime has been a challenge in the 7th Ward, he said, with the primary problems being robberies, thefts and home invasions, but there also have been arsons, fights, shootings and gang-related crimes.
“We have our challenges and we want people to help,” Swierz said. “Little crimes, in my mind, create bigger crimes. If you get away with smaller crimes, you can move on to bigger crimes.”
Bob Gray, treasurer of the 7th Ward Citizens Coalition, supports the sign program.
“Hopefully, it catches on throughout the rest of the city,” he said.