‘It’s just a big problem’: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine talks violent crime in Cleveland with 3News’ Laura Caso

DeWine also spoke about cleanup efforts in East Palestine, his highs and lows in 2023, marijuana, abortion, and more in his interview with Caso.

BEXLEY, Ohio — Coming off of a violent day and year in Cleveland, 3News took the problem of crime in our area straight to the top.

On Friday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine sat for an interview with our Laura Caso from his residence in Bexley. The conversation came amid a violent 24 hours in Cleveland, where there were three shootings within about an hour’s time, plus a shooting outside of a funeral service.

This year, DeWine addressed crime in Cleveland with a series of two-day “surge initiative” operations, which combined federal, state, and local law enforcement resources together to make over 200 felony arrests. The governor told Caso he is looking to put more resources into that effort so more operations can be done at once. 

In the meantime, he says a big problem with violence in our city is young kids and guns.

“There are things we can do and we know what they are, having more boys clubs and girls clubs. We are investing in those, try to have local police grow those. It’s giving kids alternatives and giving kids a sense of value, often times these kids are growing up and getting their sense of value from the gang they belong to. It’s just a problem,” DeWine explained.

'I think the city is trying to do it,' DeWine said when asked if Cleveland was doing enough.

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The governor does understand that there are many layers to the crime problem in Clevleand. 

“Businesses don’t want to come and people don’t want to move into a neighborhood where there is crime, so we owe it to people in those communities to do everything we can to lessen those burden,” DeWine added.

So are Cleveland city leaders doing enough in the battle against violent crime?

“Look, I think the city is trying to do it,” DeWine responded to Caso. “I see police officers up there every time I go up and doing great work, but it’s a joint effort and we have to work with them and we have to give them assistance.”

2023 was a busy year for DeWine. He dealt with everything from a toxic train derailment in East Palestine, to the passing of abortion and recreational marijuana issues by voters last month.

On the topic of marijuana, the governor says he doesn’t agree, but respects the will of the voters. However, he thinks the measure that was passes needs tweaking.

“The law that was passed then basically means that we’re not going to be able to legally sell marijuana in the state of Ohio. No one will be able to about a year from now,” he said of Issue 2, which passed with 57% of the vote. “So we’ve got a kind of goofy situation, frankly, where you’re allowed to have marijuana, you’re allowed to use marijuana, you’re allowed to grow marijuana, but you’re not allowed to buy marijuana, and you couldn’t buy the seeds to even grow the marijuana. So it’s kind of a strange situation, and why do I worry about it? I worry about it because we will see the growth of the black market, and we’re already starting to see this.”

Issue 2 officially took effect as written on Dec. 7, but while the Ohio Senate passed revisions meant to tackle some of DeWine’s concerns, the Ohio House did not, and is not expected to until the start of the new year. The governor stresses this needs to be rectified as quickly as possible.

“Frankly, we need the House of Representatives — when they come back in January — to focus on this, and let’s see if we can come up with a bill that allows us to implement what the people wanted, but do it in a responsible way.”

So what were the highs and lows for DeWine this year?

“I went last week to a serviceman’s calling hours who died in the Osprey accident, we had one member from Ohio. I think talking to the family of the little boy in Springfield who was killed in the bus wreck just a couple of weeks ago. A few weeks ago, we saw another wreck with a school band in a charter bus and a number of people killed. So going and talking to the mom and dads, it can’t get much worse than that for that family. It’s a parent’s worst nightmare to lose a child, no warning at all and the most important thing in your life is gone. So, yeah those are tough,” he reflected.

DeWine looked back on 2023 in the Buckeye State during a sit-down interview with 3News' Laura Caso.

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So what was the governor’s high moment from the year?

“The high is seeing young people being excited about what they are doing,” DeWine added. “It’s being in a career center where a young lady, 16 or 17 years old, she is under a car and you ask her, ‘how did you decide what you want to do?’ She says, ‘I love it, I already have a job.'”

Watch the full interview below:

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