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Help Was Close for Ariel Castro’s Victims

Ariel Castro

Police records show during the 11 years Ariel Castro allegedly held three teenagers in his Cleveland home, local authorities visited the block one out of every three days, or 1,099 times, according to a NBC News’ analysis of the police records. Even though his home had plywood-covered windows and a padlocked front door, it never received much attention. Castro pleaded not guilty last week to 329 charges, including kidnapping and rape.

Police dispatch logs, records and follow-up reports shed light on the mystery as to why the victims were not noticed for all of those years. Many of the homes on the block, including the next-door neighbors, made frequent police calls.One neighbor called the police 35 times. Two doors down, a resident called 37 times and across the street, two doors down, police came 68 times. Police received calls for domestic abuse, flashers, broken windows, burglars and fights.

The neighborhood struggles with unemployment and poverty. Many of the homes sit empty with boards preventing vandalism. Some neighbors describe the neighborhood as a drug base filled with violence. Authorities only came to Castro’s home twice during the 3,910 days Michelle Knight was held captive. She was missing from Aug. 2002 to May 2013. The first time officers investigated a complaint, Castro left a child on the school bus he drove. The second time he called to report a fight outside of his home.

Despite calls from neighbors about muffled screams and naked women in chains, police records fail to mention those reports, NBC News reports.”There is no evidence to indicate that any of them were ever outside in the yard, in chains, without clothing, or any other manner,” Martin Flask, Cleveland director of public safety, told reporters on May 8. Police Chief Michael McGrath told NBC News, “We have no record of anyone calling” to report anything suspicious about the Castro house.