The police department has temporarily shut down access to the system.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- A few hundred 7th Ward residents this week received telephone calls in the middle of the night informing them of a cleanup program in the 6th Ward.
Apparently, more than a few people were quite annoyed by the calls.
Councilman Mark S. Memmer, D-7th, said he received about 25 to 30 phone calls from constituents angry about the cleanup message. He also received one of the late-night calls himself.
The police department and the mayor's office also received several complaints, as did Maggy Lorenzi, a mayoral candidate whose name and phone number were given on the message as a contact person for the clean-up.
The Citywatch System permits block watch and citizen coalition officials to send telephone messages to specifically targeted Youngstown residents about their meetings and events.
Those who call have the choice of either sending the message immediately or at specific times, according to instructions provided to block watch officials by the police department. The department oversees the Citywatch System.
Mary Krupa, the 7th Ward Citizens Coalition's secretary, sent a message late Tuesday that went to a few hundred residents between about 11:30 p.m. that night and about 2:45 a.m. Wednesday. The message was primarily to inform 7th Ward residents about the June 25 Market Street cleanup in the 6th Ward.
Krupa couldn't be reached Friday to comment.
Lorenzi said she appreciates Krupa wanting to tell others about the cleanup, but there needs to be restrictions on the use of the phone system.
That is now in place. The police department has shut down access to the system for the time-being.
"It's supposed to be used only to contact members of particular block watches," Memmer said. "Some people aren't using it properly."
Memmer, who received his call about 12:45 a.m., said Krupa blamed the problem on a computer error. But he said that's not the case.
"I wasn't thrilled to get the call, and then get several calls from people who thought they were getting bad news in the middle of the night," he said.