East Side patrols will be beefed up, the lieutenant promised.
By PETER H. MILLIKEN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- In the aftermath of the killing of a 3-month-old, East Side residents expressed frustrations about crime in their neighborhoods.
"This has been going on for quite some time, and I have gotten tired of them just coming out and giving lip service and not acting," Ethel Hughey, a 38-year resident of Duncan Lane, said of the official response to drug dealing and gunfire in her neighborhood.
"We've had block watches. We would meet. I would go downtown. We would meet with the mayor and the police chief, and we got so-so results, but they didn't do the job that was satisfactory to me and my neighborhood," said Hughey, who led a block watch on her street for several years during the 1980s.
"The solution is: Stop the drugs. The solution is more police patrols -- more visibility," Hughey said. "I'm saddened that it took a child being killed to get some action," she said, adding that her grandson was almost killed two years ago by gunfire coming into his Duncan Lane bedroom.
"There was a time when Lincoln Knolls was considered middle class -- a nice place to live. I was proud to say I lived in Lincoln Knolls. I can't say it now," said an equally frustrated Beverly Primm. "If we don't see any progress, it doesn't do anything for us but knock us down. We want to see results," Primm added.
A community meeting, attended by several dozen people Thursday at Mary Haddow School, was organized by Councilman Rufus Hudson, D-2nd, less than two weeks after the fatal shooting of 3-month-old Jiyen C. Dent Jr. on March 24 in his Rutledge Drive home.
Police Lt. Robin Lees said the department gave utmost priority to the investigation and had two suspects, John E. Drummond, 25, and Wayne P. Gilliam, 21, in custody within 72 hours after the shooting. Drummond and Gilliam are charged with murder.
"I can assure you that there'll be an increased patrol effort on the East Side. We will continue it as long as there's a problem. I would encourage you to work with your councilman, and call the [police] chief's office. We need to keep that effort up and see this thing through," Lees said.
"Together, by becoming organized, we can make a difference in this community. I hope that we will use this meeting as an opportunity to commit to taking back our neighborhoods, to keeping our streets safe," Hudson said, calling for establishment of more block watches on the East Side.
"Those persons that you vote for -- you've got to make them accountable to you. Public pressure moves politicians," said Tracey Monroe-Winbush, a school board member, who offered to start a block watch on Greeley Lane, where she resides.
Sheriff Randall Wellington regrets that, because of budget cuts that forced the layoff of 54 deputies, he can no longer provide a cruiser to patrol the city's East Side, Lt. Mark Masto of the sheriff's department told the group. "We're down to bare minimums," Masto said.