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Youngstown/Boardman groups consider banding together

Published: Thu, July 22, 2010 @ 12:09 a.m.




A rash of car break-ins, vacant homes being used by drug dealers, excessive speeding and the occasional robbery are far too common in several sections of the city’s South Side and the northern portion of Boardman Township, many community leaders and residents say.

Also common to those areas, however, are those determined to tackle those problems head on.

That was the main thrust of the South Side/North Boardman Neighborhood Group Summit on Wednesday at the Newport branch of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, 3730 Market St. About 100 people attended the 90-minute session.

The gathering brought together community leaders and members of the Newport Neighborhood Association, Boulevard Park Block Watch, Forest Glen Homeowners Association, North Boardman Neighborhood Watch and the Handel’s Block Watch group, all of which are in Boardman or on the South Side.

“It’s strength in numbers,” said Francine Jeffries, president of the Newport Neighborhood Association. “The more ideas there are, the more resolutions.”

If large numbers of neighbors look out for one another, criminal activity will be curtailed, Jeffries said, adding that she advocates having a “call tree” to alert everyone to a burglary, for example.

Despite the 25 mph speed limit on Hudson Avenue, some drivers travel 60 mph or more and use it to get around speed bumps on nearby streets, noted Bert Ehrenberg, a member of the North Boardman group.

“[Some] people don’t have respect for the neighborhoods and the law,” Ehrenberg said, adding that his organization has a good relationship with police.

Knowing fellow neighbors, having security systems and good lighting are necessary, but those alone only cause crime to become someone else’s problem, explained Marcy Svenson, the Forest Glen association’s traffic and safety chairwoman.

“We can solve the break-in problem for our neighborhoods immediately with our resources, but it will move to other neighborhoods. It won’t help the community” as a whole, she said.

A good solution would be a call system linking other neighborhood groups to quickly alert hundreds of people simultaneously when criminal activity occurs, Svenson said.

The Boulevard Park area also isn’t immune to break-ins, burglaries and the occasional robbery, so a greater police presence is vital, said Christine Silvestri, the group’s treasurer.

If police don’t consistently take such crimes seriously, more people will likely move, which will cause the area to decline, decrease the city’s tax base and invite more crime and other problems, she pointed out.

Many residents volunteer to patrol the Boulevard Park area at night in 60- to 90-minute increments, Silvestri added.

It’s important for neighbors to get to know one another better and let troublemakers know they’re being monitored, but it’s equally important to resist profiling those who commit crimes, noted Dave Starr, president of the Handel’s Block Watch.

Positive developments in his area include more residents taking care of their homes and properties. Also, more people are walking at night, Starr said.

Others’ ideas included having a city watch system to make more people aware of crime faster; offering after-school and other programs to educate and help youngsters headed for trouble; using cell phones to photograph and send to police pictures of criminals; combating domestic violence, which negatively impacts youngsters; and having programs to help boys become positive role models.

Remarks also were made by Jimmy Hughes and Jack Nichols, police chiefs of Youngstown and Boardman, respectively.


1Lifes2Short(3879 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Thats impressive. Over 100 people. Nice turnout. And adandrews is right, how do we go about getting into this network.

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2Hhenry34(1 comment)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

The Boulevard Park Blockwatch meets the first Tuesday of the month at Bethlehem Lutheran Church (388 Midlothian Blvd.) at 6:30. You can also check out our website at bpbw10.wordpress.com. You will find contact information for our officers and general information about our group.

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3PhilKidd(186 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

I have contact information for each group represented that night. If you'd like to add an idea to the list or to contact a group specifically, email me at phil@mvorganizing.org. Thanks for reaching out.

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4seminole(476 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

All, the Boardman police and trustees are so full of sh--- it's nauseating. They are at fault for what has happened to Boardman. They have an excuse for everything they do not do, there is no accountability for horrible law enforcement, they have allowed trash-magnet businesses to set-up shop in the hopes of getting a few tax dollars, misapproprite funds, running the township into financial ruin...the rest escapes me as the points are so numerous. The police chief has basically told everyone they can not do anything, that Boardman citizens should completely adjust their way of life to account for the ghetto crime wave because they can't stop it. Of course, this is spoken with a straight face as you see two cruisers parked door to door, the officers chatting it up as speeders, non-licensed thugs and noise ordinance violating vehicles rumble through our neighborhoods. But, it's a good idea to possibly think of hiring an outside security company to cruise the neighborhoods at night, of course, at a cost to the citizens the police can not protect. I want my damn tax dollars and levy money back since these weak-spined cops can not handle the job they are paid to do, and paid way too much for not doing. This town has turned into a complete outhouse, a sinkhole of punks rolling around like they own our streets. I will say it again: do not rely on the Boardman police or trustees to protect you! Take matters into your own hands, taxpaying citizens...

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5WalterSobchack(19 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Looks like they got one of them.
Now how do I go about getting reimbursed for the damages to my vehicle? Yeah right, like that will happen!

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6TonyB(37 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

The reason why people (kids and adults) aren't constructively involved in their communities' justice issues is that there are not enough opportunities to practice civic engagement.

If you think that young people are the solution and not the problem, then join our effort?

You reader are the leaders. Help yourself and create Community Justice Time Bank Youth Courts in the Mahoning Valley.

see http://tbmw.org/youthcourt

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