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Will store closings end crime in Y’town?

Published: Sun, May 10, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

By Bertram de Souza

Let’s get something straight: The owners of the neighborhood markets in the city of Youngstown, many of them naturalized American citizens from the Middle East, did not bring into the world the babies who grew up to become young punks and ultimately drug dealers, gang bangers and society’s misfits.

To suggest, as some city government officials, community leaders and residents are now doing, that closing these stores will affect the crime wave is to ignore the reality that is Youngstown: The community is a breeding ground for criminals because there is little or no responsible adult supervision in many inner city homes. It is not about babies being born out of wedlock; it is about the absence of two parents — or one parent who isn’t a child herself — and the lack of a loving, caring, guiding environment.

Mahoning County Juvenile Court Judge Theresa Dellick sees first-hand the effects of dysfunctional households. Judge Dellick tells the story of a young person who is a student in a special school operated by the court who would rather spend the night in juvenile hall than go home.

The absence of a proper home life has consequences — as can be seen in Youngstown’s crime statistics.

To blame the owners of neighborhood markets for the gunfights that occur outside their stores in broad daylight, or the drug deals that take place, or the crack houses that dot many residential areas is to give the destroyers of the community a pass — or, at least, a pardon.

Both types

Are there store owners who fail to keep their premises clean, who don’t always sell quality products and who are too friendly with the wrong types of individuals? Yes, there are. Just as there are store owners who take pride in their businesses, sell quality products at reasonable prices, do favors for regular customers who are in dire straits and hand out candy to children who are pleasant and well-behaved.

Thus the question: Will Youngstown suddenly become crime-free if all the neighborhood markets closed?

Of course not.

That’s because the next generation of drug dealers, gang bangers and society’s misfits are already on the streets.

They are the young punks — boys and girls — who swarm the roadways, forcing vehicular traffic to stop. They are the illiterates who have no regard for private property and brazenly toss their empty paper cups and empty fast-food bags on the sidewalks and the front lawns of residents who spend hours trying to keep the old, deteriorating city from becoming an eyesore.

They are the students — the word used loosely — who have no qualms about defacing public property with graffiti that would make a grown man blush.

They are the criminals-in-training — unless something is done quickly to change the way they think, behave and live.

So when city officials, community leaders and residents say, “We’re fed up!” in reference to the neighborhood markets, those who work in the private sector, pay the exorbitantly high income tax (80 percent of city government’s operating budget goes for salaries and benefits for the public trough feeders), own property and pay the exorbitantly high property tax (including 9.5 mills for the failing school system), are also fed up with their lives being disrupted by scofflaws — young and old.

Black community

And here’s an issue no one wants to publicly discuss, but a great many people (if they are honest) at least think about: Many of the neighborhood markets are in the predominantly black areas of the city.

These markets cater to residents who have no means of transportation to get to the larger grocery stores.

So, if the markets are forced to shut down, where will the residents shop?

It is no accident that most of the owners are foreign-born. They put in 12-hour-plus days and are on the job 365 days a year.

If city officials have a waiting list of home-grown residents willing to run the neighborhood markets and do what it takes to keep the doors open, then they should not hesitate to get rid of the current owners.

It’s a safe bet there isn’t such a list.

Selling drugs on the street corner, breaking and entering homes and businesses and snatching some defenseless woman’s purse is so much easier.


1oasismgt(4 comments)posted 7 years ago

Everybody knows what goes on at these store's, Just as everyone knows where the crack houses are, the prostitues stroll etc...Its what we are willing to do...and that is NOTHING...This has been going on since I can remember and I am 42yrs old...And When I say we, I mean you, Me everybody in this terrrible town. You can walk into any corner store, as long as they dont suspect you of being a cop (undercover). and buy a crack pipe
the screen that goes with and a lighter... You can buy a cup of liquor, a blunt.any flavor. a loose cigarett and nobody will ask you for I.D ......Now let me go to boardman, austintown, liberty...and ask for those things and they wont have them..and if you ask for beer, wine or cigaretts..the first thing they ask for is ID....Everybody know that at these stores in the inner city of youngstown, you can find whatever you want and its not being sold by the thugs hanging out side ...its the thugs behind the counter...I dont shop there and I never will, I belive I work hard for my dollars and I refuse to support any store that doesnt help my community. because a kid is born out of wed-lock or raised by a single parent doesnt make him/her grow up to
be a punk, drug dealer, disrespecting person. Its dealing with people like yourself who puts them down and make them feel like nothing or that they have nothing to loose that drives them towards these crimes. as you stated and I belive also..we must take responsiblity for our action and in our neighborhoods. and one of the first things we must do is rid our neighborhoods of those who do not support it..Be it the middle eastern store owner, the african american store owner or any other store owner that will willingly sell our children alchol and cigarettes..We must rid our neighborhoods of the absent landlords who wont fix our homes we rent
but expect our monthly payment..We must learn our rights when it comes to this and take our landlords to court..We must not depend on the landlord in the first place and buy these cheap homes and fix them up and take pride in our neighborhoods, We must hold our local government accountable....and as far as those stores being in the black community to help...Thats a crock of -@*# ..Thats what the WRTA is for....market street bus will run you all the way up and down market, there is a sparkles etc..What it is that sparkels, giant eagle etc... wont sell you a crack pipe, so why go. there is such a list with brothers just as myself who would take over any of these store if suppliers wouldnt deny me certain things because my name aint muhammad...As far as the stores go
if you sell our kids alchol etc... we dont want you..and as far as the store owner working 12 long hours..That there buisness if they want it to suceed that one of the sacrafices dont act like they are doing us a favor.

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2Rokscout(310 comments)posted 7 years ago

Again someone misses the point. Closing these stores will do NOTHING to stop the lifestyle that seems the be the one of choice around here. As one of the members of the city who spends hours trying to keep my yard clean, only to have it trashed by some group of mouth breathing thugs, I completely agree with the author. I want to sell this house and move so badly but who is going to buy it, even though it is a very nice house, when they look down the street and see a bunch of thugs milling about.

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3Rokscout(310 comments)posted 7 years ago

To the author,
You are about to get skewered for your truthful and honest article. I realize you did what Eric Holder called us cowards for not doing and told the truth in an open honest manner. Thanks for addressing this issue honestly!

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4steelerman09(111 comments)posted 7 years ago

If this place was, ran by a foreign-born person, then it really doesn't matter for them that it was shut down. Sure, it will hurt them for a short time, but what will happen is they will soon start up another "Mart" and start their same business all over again. Sure, it won't be in the middle of the hood, but it will be in another neighborhood somewhere else. For those of you that don't already see that, please open your eyes. The owners of the store will soon be up and operating once again!

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5oasismgt(4 comments)posted 7 years ago

Dude! Im not missing the point. I just dis-agree with all that was said in the article especially when I see this type of stuff happening everyday at our neighborhood corner stores...Like I said everybody knows what goes on at these stores and everybody knows what you can buy at these stores and what you can sell. If you run a respectable buisness then you wouldnt have the thugs hanging out. Now as far as you cleaning up your yard. well I tip my hat to you...but your not the only person in youngstown that goes thru that..I live on a street where I cut my grass and the vacant houses next to me grass and take a trash bag and walk around picking up trash..Nobody bothers me! Its where I live and I dont sit around and wait for somebody else to do it...Every single night you can hear gun fire..Not once in the 10yrs that I have live on my street have the police came, no matter who calls. well thats why they do the things they do. They know the police aint coming. Im saying that we. have to take control of our neighborhood and get rid of those who want to cause problems, be it the store owner or the so called thugs. stop being scared.

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6gmann415(268 comments)posted 7 years ago

oasismgt, you are missing the point. it doesnt matter what the store is selling. if 98% of the people who go to these stores know any better they wouldnt be buying crack pipes or beer under age. the problem is hoe the kids are raised. no matter where you are at you will always have underage drinking. no matter where you are you will always have some sort of druggie. this is not the stores fault that youngstown has so many gun toting drug dealing gangbanging thug. look at the may 7th paper. there was three kids busted in canfield for herion. where you think it came from? i put my money on youngstown. if the people of youngstown stand up and report everything they see and hear and report drug houses and dealers and underage drinkers, then youngstown would be a safe place. and you wouldnt have to worrie about the stores selling pipes. by the way these arent crack pipes they sell, they are roses in a glass tube. it becomes a pipe when a druggie decides to make it one.

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7Stan(9923 comments)posted 7 years ago

The seeds of civilized behavior are sown and nurtured at home ! Lack of controls at home equates to no respect for any rules of society.


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8irishfan91(97 comments)posted 7 years ago

no crime will always find another home. Most of these people are career criminals and need to further their careers.

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9ysugirl913(14 comments)posted 7 years ago

I believe the point of the whole initiative is to ask the owners to sell products that enforce a better quality of life. These products are not alcohol, tobacco, and implements for creating crack pipes. These products can be replaced with fresh fruits and vegetables, a decent deli counter, things the people in these neighborhoods need but can not get nearby (without going up Market St) safely because of the thugs milling about and or behind the counter as someone else suggested. Making the store owners accountable for the product they sell and then reducing the unwanted behavior stemming from the selling of said product. Just my measly 2 cents.

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10Stan(9923 comments)posted 7 years ago

How about the known crack houses that sell the product for those crack pipes? The people endear crack above all else. Lets shut down their supply so they can develop a taste for fruits and vegtables.

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