Dr. Robert Kalina, 70, a dentist in suburban Cleveland, was murdered in November. Three other suburbs have had rare murders recently, as Cleveland homicides shot up to their highest mark since 1995, says the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Experts and community leaders link the upswing in urban slayings to declining social conditions and a lack of police manpower.
Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, said criminals have become emboldened knowing there aren’t enough officers on the street. Cleveland has one officer for every 286 residents, compared with one for every 251 residents in St. Louis and one for every 274 in Detroit. Criminologist Wendy Regoeczi of Cleveland State University believes a major factor in the crime increase is the area’s economy, which has seen median household income dip in the last five years. Nearly a third of Cleveland residents live below the federal poverty level.