The Ohio Electronic Sex Offender Registration and Notification (eSORN) database lists 133 sex
offenders living or working in Gina’s immediate zip code. Many residents of the ar
ea, however,cannot use the database, as they do not have access to the Internet at home.
“I have been here almost four years and I have been notified of only one sex offender,” Ruizsaid. “And he lives only about 1,000 feet away from here.”
Ohio law prohibits sex offenders who are required to register from establishing their residencewithin 1,000 feet of school buildings.
“There is no enforcing the laws because they still live right next to the schools and the busstops,” Ruiz said. She believes the pr
ocess of registering sex offenders is essentially a waste of time.At a Ward 19 crime watch meeting, one of ten monthly, residents describe the area as a multi-ethnic community where people work and try to keep their housing up to par. They feel thedisappearance of Amanda Berry on April 21, 2003 was a wake-
up call, but Gina’s case reallycaught everyone’s attention.
Many residents believe the schools and the city have more work to do to help out.
“There is not enough supervision at the schools and when
the kids get out, they still run through
the streets,” Smith said. “They say that once they leave the school premises, the school is not
responsible for them. But until they reach their house, I believe they are. They should be moreconcerned with their sa
fety.”“The school is supposed to be a safe place,” Perez said. “They need more police around theschools, surrounding the area. Without that, it’s just going to keep on going and there will bemore innocent people getting hurt.”
Isaac Rodriguez has seen some changes happen at Wilbur Wright.
“There are more security guards at the school now,” the father of two middle school studentssaid. “They have been having assemblies and talking to the kids about the danger.”“When you send your kids out to school now”, Smith said, “you don’t know if they are going to
make it home or not. From West 105th to [West 110th], anything could happen. I feel the mayor should do something about that. The children should be our first priority, no matter what else is
going on in the city.”
Zak, a former Cleveland police officer of 30 years, believes the community is feeling the effects
of the city’s cuts in the police force.“The first thing a city should do is protect its citizens,” he said. Although
police cannot be on the
scene of every crime as they occur, Zak reports that residents are getting responses to calls “one,two, and four hours later.”