By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
City leaders, nonprofit organizations and a local business are joining forces to arm residents with the tools and knowledge needed to avoid becoming a victim.
The Spring into Crime Prevention and Safety Campaign is slated to kick off at 10 a.m. today at the YouthBuild of Mahoning County Center on Covington Street.
The campaign will feature an anti-theft device that will generate funds for YouthBuild and a series of seminars to educate the public.
The program is directed by the city of Youngstown in collaboration with Alliance for Congregational Transformation Influencing Our Neighborhood (ACTION), Youngstown Metropolitan Housing Authority, Winner International Co. and YouthBuild.
Councilman Jamael Tito Brown, D-3rd, said the idea for the safety campaign was born right after a meeting to address a rash of home break-ins in the city’s North Side in 2009. Brown said a representative from Winner International approached him after the meeting about the Door Club, a product sold by Winner International to prevent forced-door entry into a home.
“I wanted to see how I could get this installed for my seniors, then I thought this would be a good way to get the youth involved and get their training hours in with YouthBuild,” Brown said. “We will let them do the installation with their instructors present.”
Winner International has pledged to donate a percentage of the sale of each Door Club during the campaign to the YouthBuild program.
Rose Carter, ACTION member, said the group is looking forward to continuing the campaign through the remainder of the year with workshops for young and seasoned citizens.
Carter said the workshops will be important for senior citizens because there will be an emphasis on being aware of one’s surroundings.
She said seniors also will be equipped with information on how to avoid home-improvement and computer scams.
Carter said there will be open discussions with younger people to determine what those young people see as major needs in the community.
“If we listen to our young people, and not just preach to them, then we can see what they think, and we all go out and touch base with other youth who are not being responsible,” she said.
Brown said the seminars are a good tool to be used by leaders of various block watches and leading members of the community to educate those in their various groups and organizations.
A good portion of the crime-prevention training will be conducted by Daniel Burns, a 15-year veteran police officer and crime- prevention-specialist trainer from the Pittsburgh area.