For a decade, while authorities say Ariel Castro kept three women imprisoned in his dilapidated white colonial, residents of the short stretch of Seymour Avenue in Cleveland where he lived reported a litany of other crimes that brought police to the block, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Since 2002, when Michelle Knight disappeared, police came to Castro’s section of the street to take crime reports nearly 160 times — a little more than once month — for fewer than 20 homes. The Plain Dealer analyzed its database of thousands of police crime reports to draw a picture of what drew officers to the now infamous street while the missing women were captives there.
The newspaper found there were more than 35 assaults, many of them domestic crimes against women, which resulted in busted lips, bleeding noses, and violated protection orders. Police investigated a dozen drug-related crimes — including a crop of 9-foot tall marijuana plants growing in a garden within view of the sidewalk. Ten people were reported missing, though several of the cases involved multiple reports about habitual runaways. All appear to have returned home. Ronnie Dunn, an associate professor of urban studies at Cleveland State, said a transient community that lacks block clubs or social supports can lead to a culture of fear where people shutter themselves in their homes and close their blinds. “That is the perfect environment for crimes to proliferate,” he said. And for crimes to possibly go unnoticed or unreported.