On the blocks where the slain women were found, their bodies wrapped in plastic, nearly one in three homes is boarded up, some stripped of copper pipes and electrical wiring by scavengers that a Cleveland councilman compared to locusts, reports the New York Times. Once again, a chilling crime has drawn national attention to Cleveland, exposing how violence festers in semi-abandoned neighborhoods where social bonds have weakened and women seem especially targeted as victims.
Police on Monday charged a registered sex offender with murdering three women and dumping their bodies in a garage, an overgrown field and the basement of a boarded-up house. The killings, in the suburb of East Cleveland, came two months after the escape of three women held captive for a decade by an unemployed bus driver in a boarded-up house in West Cleveland, an episode that plunged the city into introspection about how well people know their neighbors. The crimes exposed how a city that is proud of its downtown business revival and world-class cultural and medical institutions continues to harbor pockets of despair and social breakdown.