Three new violence interrupters coming to Lagrange St. neighborhood

The goal is prevention.

Jaden Jefferson
2 min readAug 16, 2022
This morning’s announcement at the Zablocki Senior Center. (Jaden Jefferson)

TOLEDO, Ohio — The City of Toledo’s ‘Save Our Community’ program, which has proved successful in the Junction-Englewood neighborhood, is now expanding to the Lagrange St. neighborhood, with another expansion set to be announced in East Toledo.

“When we first embraced this model, now almost a year and a half ago, our plan was to begin in a neighborhood, and we chose the Junction neighborhood, but it was always to expand to other priority neighborhoods,” said Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz (D).

You can watch the story, here.

One of those priority neighborhoods is, of course, the Lagrange Street neighborhood. It’s so much of a priority, in fact, that TPD focused one of their many violent crime operations on it. Operation L.A.S.E.R., which stands for LaGrange Area Safety Enforcement Response.

The goal today, though, was to refocus the city’s gun violence and crime-prevention efforts on the community, by building relationships and providing resources.

“The other day, I saw a young man, about 15. I kind of understand the mentality of this age group, because I have children this age. So I just kind of asked him what he was into, and of course I knew he was into gaming. So I said, ‘Hey young man! There’s a program called Bitwise, and would you be interested in that?’ And he said he would,” said Christopher T. Matthews, a violence interrupter assigned to the Lagrange St. neighborhood.

Christopher T. Matthews is just one of the three new violence interrupters assigned to the area. They all live and work here, so the connection to the neighborhood is evident. While it may seem that there’s an endless list of obstacles facing the team, member Isaac Miles says there’s really only one.

“Just the community buy-in. Just letting them know that we’re not just somebody looking for attention, we actually care. We do this because we have a passion for it. We really wanna see change in the neighborhoods, in the communities, so that’s really the main thing,” Miles explained.

Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz notes that Toledo isn’t doing a perfect job in addressing gun violence, but has seen improvement, which is a good sign.

“Our numbers this year are substantially better than they were last year. Again, homicides are down 24%, shooting incidents are down 15%, crime in general is down,” he explained.

With these three additional violence interrupters on the streets, who will also be tasked with improving the overall look of the neighborhood, the total number grows to six. That number will eventually increase to nine, when the program expands into East Toledo this fall.

--

--

Jaden Jefferson

🎤 15-year-old Journo 🎥 Story idea? jadenjeffersonreports@gmail.com / DMs | IG 📸: @jaden_reports | Award Winner🎖️ | Y2K Pop 🎵😎 | Dogs.🐾