A federal agency wants to help townships coordinate efforts to combat increasing crime.
By PEGGY SINKOVICH
and DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
Austintown made 18 more felony arrests this March than in March 2004.
In the past month, Liberty police have investigated three armed robberies, including a bank robbery.
And Boardman police also have seen an increase in crime in the past few weeks.
Although Austintown Police Chief Gordon Ellis says the spike in crime could be the result of many factors, the Mahoning County Justice Center's decision to turn prisoners away because of financial constraints can't be discounted.
"It would appear to be a factor," the chief said.
Liberty Police Chief Anthony Slifka and Boardman Police Chief Jeffrey Patterson concur.
"When there are more people committing crimes out on the streets and not in jail, the crime rate will increase," Slifka said.
On April 28, Boardman officers arrested two men, charging them with breaking into Market Street businesses. One of the suspects had been arrested for similar crimes April 13, Patterson said.
In an effort to be proactive, the townships met with Frank D'Alesio of the Youngstown office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives last week to discuss ways of reducing the crime rate.
"It's not even summer, and we are already having problems," Slifka said, noting that robberies and other crimes tend to escalate in warm months.
D'Alesio said his agency, along with Youngstown police and the Ohio State Highway Patrol, would like to help the communities coordinate efforts to address crime.
"We want to help the communities address the crimes that may be creeping into their townships," D'Alesio said. "Say we are working with Boardman on a particular project, we may go to Youngstown and get some of their officers to patrol that Youngstown/Boardman border. It's just a way of helping supplement the police departments' officers."
D'Alesio said each township can let his department know in what areas of crimes, such as illegal weapons or drugs, they would like some additional assistance.
"We want to help in whatever way we can," D'Alesio said.