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Confronting crime



Published: Thu, October 28, 2010 @ 12:01 a.m.

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Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray hosts the Safety Summit at St. Dominic Church on the South Side of Youngstown. Elected and law-enforcement officials addressed a recent increase in violence in Youngstown at the summit Wednesday. Two homicides happened this year at or near St. Dominic Church. A multipronged plan to make the city safer was outlined at the summit.

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Clarence Boles of Youngstown, affiliated with The Buckeye Review newspaper, said he wants city crime labeled as “homegrown terrorism.”

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Councilwoman Janet Tarpley, D-6th, presented the three phases of “Operation Redemption” aimed at curbing violence on the South Side.

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Lt. Kevin Mercer explained the city police department’s increased patrols in high-crime areas.

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The Vindicator ( Youngstown)

By Ashley Luthern

aluthern@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

The city’s violence is not contained to the South Side, area residents said at a Wednesday forum.

“Violence is mobile. As the city goes, so goes the community,” said the Rev. Joseph Fata of St. Luke Church in Boardman.

Elected and law enforcement officials met at a safety summit Wednesday to discuss the problem of, and potential solutions for, crime in the city. The event was at St. Dominic Church on Lucius Avenue, which has lost two parishioners to murder this year.

Father Fata said when the media report that a shooting occurred near St. Dominic Church, for example, it gives people in surrounding areas a “false sense of security.”

People also are concerned that the South Side focus will leave out other parts of the city, said Rose Carter, lead organizer for the Alliance for Congregational Transformation Influencing Our Neighborhoods.

“I hope it will be a model that will be used throughout the city, in Boardman, in Trumbull County,” Carter said.

Mayor Jay Williams and Councilwoman Janet Tarpley, D-6th Ward, both said the plan for the South Side, called Operation Redemption, will be used as a template for the entire city.

According to Williams, Operation Redemption calls for three phrases:

  • Physical transformation of the neighborhood.
  • Heightened law-enforcement presence.
  • Civic or social transformation.

The mayor has said 27 vacant houses near St. Dominic Church will be demolished by the end of the year.

Lt. Kevin Mercer of Youngstown police said that the department already has started saturation patrols and launched Operation Forecast.

The operation “is like trying to forecast the weather,” Mercer said. “We’re identifying criminal patterns and trying to stop crimes before they happen.”

Mercer and Williams emphasized smart policing, using the resources available to the fullest extent.

“There were 250 officers, but that’s just not going to happen,” Williams said, referring to previous staffing levels. There are 155 sworn police officers now. He added that lower numbers of officers should not be an excuse for higher crime rates, and the number of officers does not correlate with the number of homicides annually.

Even though local officials have a plan, they need help from people such as state Attorney General Richard Cordray and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-17th, said the Rev. Gregory Maturi of St. Dominic Church who helped plan the forum with the attorney general’s office.

“The city alone cannot handle it,” Maturi said.

Cordray said the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation will process DNA and fingerprints from Youngstown crime scenes without limit.

Although the attorney general’s office historically did not conduct lab analysis for property crimes, he said that has since changed.

“We’ve made a point and are now taking DNA from property crimes,” he said, noting that 200 such cases are already in process.

Cordray added that this could free up Youngstown police officers from investigative duties to increase patrols.

The attorney general also will have a law-enforcement training session about gangs Jan. 10 in Youngstown.

Clarence Boles of Youngstown asked Cordray: “What prohibits the attorney general from looking at perpetrators as homegrown terrorists” and therefore qualifying for money from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security?

Cordray answered that it’s hard to equate what the Department of Homeland Security does to protect against domestic and international terrorism with Youngstown crime.

“I sympathize,” he said. “...These violent crimes are more immediate than some vague threat outside the country.”


PHASE 1

Demolish vacant houses.

Saturated police patrols.

PHASE 2

Fully enforce city code.

Determine penalties for those who receive federal subsidies from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through its Section 8 housing program and are convicted of crimes.

Work with neighborhood watch and association groups to identify problem houses.

Connect children with youth organizations and the elderly with needed services.

PHASE 3

Create small neighborhood parks, basketball parks and other recreational spaces.

Bind over to the adult system those juvenile offenders who continue to commit crimes.

Involve those on probation in community service.

Source: Youngstown Councilwoman Janet Tarpley, D-6th Ward


Comments

1Stan(9923 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Until the criminals are forced to work for their handouts they have 24/7 available to do crime . They truly enjoy what they are doing . Let's take the enjoyment out of it . Put them in prison and not on meaningless probation .

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2UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

The answer is to end medicaid , section 8 housing, and welfare so these people have to work for a living and don't have time to think about crime.

No mention of the National Guard again AG? Bring them in and let's really saturate this Youngstown gangsta war with justice filled solutions.

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3Lifes2Short(3875 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

"Bind over to the adult system those juvenile offenders who continue to commit crimes."

This is one of the key areas.

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4author50(1121 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

phase 0:

Lots of government loans to bars, real estate developers and telecommunications companies to prop up downtown so phases 1-3 only get a quarter of the way funded.

MEMO to those in charge: Where the hell are you going to put the mobsters, when you dont help pay for the jail, which is under a federal order to house 3 total criminals?

MEMO #2: Why is Kevin "I hate the 4th Amendment" Mercer always on LOOIE Free's radio show? Shouldn't he be out looking after the badguys?

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51970mach1(1005 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

"The attorney general also will have a law-enforcement training session about gangs Jan. 10 in Youngstown."

Will Corday even be AG then? When does his term end?

Homeland Security $$ gets spent on ridiculous things, so why NOT to save our cities?

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6walter_sobchak(1886 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

This is great news! Maybe the neighborhood will safe again so I can go to Tru-Tread Tires and get a set for my car!

OOPS! Too late! Moved the business to Canfield!
Goodnight, Irene. Turn out the lights, too.

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7iBuck(214 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

The best way to discourage crime is to get to know your neighbors. Talk with them. Wave. Leave the porch light on. Take another turn around the block instead of always taking the shortest route home; the more good people are out and about the less the criminals are likely to feel free to abuse people.

Mark the boundaries of your property and help your neighbors do the same. If you can, put in a fence -- even a low decorative fence or row of shrubs or flowers will have a positive effect.

Maintain your property. It signals to the potential criminals that "this is mine, it's not abandoned, I care about it, and people here don't put up with criminals damaging or taking their property".

Sometimes, opening up an alley or road or sidewalk will discourage crime and sometimes blocking one off will discourage crime. You need to consult with an environmental criminologist who has studied it, and have him/her look at the specific situaton.

Show up and conscientiously serve when you're called for jury duty to evaluate both what happened and the relevant statutes. Don't let the sheisters confuse you; stick with exactly what you saw and heard when you testify.

Always be alert to your surroundings and what's going on. If something doesn't seem right but you can't put your finger on it, go immediately to friends/relatives and a secure location, then consider whether it merits calling the police. Sometimes it will be nothing significant; sometimes it can save you or someone else.

Enroll in some defense training, take a criminology class at the juco, arm yourself, and keep your head. Firearms are the most effective means of discouraging violent attacks and property crimes, and private citizens have a better record of defensive gun use than police, but you don't want to make tragic mistakes.

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8candystriper(575 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

end the tax deduction on home mortgages ... use the funds to expand and clean up HUD

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9CommonSenseGuy(37 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

I was at St. Dominic's for the safety summit. I noticed that Joe Schiavoni and Bob Hagan were both there, but left in the middle of it when they realized that they didn't have a speaking part or any camera time. Hey, Joe and Bob, do you care about helping to clean up the crime in Youngstown??? Or are you just looking out for your own re-election???

By the way, I noticed that Matt Lewis and the guy running against Hagan were also there, and stayed the whole time, even though they got no publicity.

It's time to elect people who care about the city of Youngstown, because obviously the incumbant politicians have failed the city big time!

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10lovedrama(138 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

BELLAMY I LIVE IN THE SOUTH SIDE ALSO. I AGREE WITH YOU-THERE IS NOTHING MENTIONED HERE THAT WILL WORK-UNLESS THEY REALLY MEAN SATURATE! AND THE POLICE NEED TO KNOW THE CIRCLES OUT THERE-A DRUG HOUSE ON CHALMERS THAT GETS SHUT DOWN MOVES TO DONATION STREET THEN TO DEWEY AND THEN TO ELM, ETC. CATCH THE CRIMINALS! LOCK THEM AWAY AND MAKE THEM LEARN A TRADE TO PAY BACK THEIR VICTIMS. AND OMG ---PUTTING IN PARKS IN THE HOOD JUST GIVES THEM MORE OPEN SPACE TO PEDDLE THE STUFF, TURN TRICKS AT NIGHT, AND LURE MORE KIDS INTO GANGS. I SEE THE PARK OVER THERE ON OAK HILL THEY FOUGHT TO PUT IN A DECADE OR SO AGO-THERE ARE NEVER KIDS PLAYING THERE.
( GOOD PARENTING-SINCE IT'S SO DANGEROUS). LEAVE MEDICAID ALONE BUT MAKE THEM SIT AT HCAP CLINICS, TAKE AWAY THE CASH AND FOOD STAMPS, LEGALIZE DRUGS, TAX THE HELL OUT OF IT, AND REGAIN OUR STREETS.

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11CityDweller(6 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

You can't tell me that being 45 policemen short doesn't make a difference. How are they supposed to keep up a saturation patrol? Right now they are using overtime but that costs a lot of $ and won't last for ever. You can't expect the policemen to work 6/7 days a week all the time.

Please don't give the mayor props for the demolition program. If they/he hadn't lost the federal grant for this there could be many more vacant homes torn down. Besides, the EPA may not allow so many homes to be torn down within the same area. I believe they only allow 1 per year, per block.

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12candystriper(575 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

HUD estimates $30 billion a year is spent on housing vouchers in the United States, yet it's helping one of four households at most.
.. use the $5 billion a year in mortgage deductions to bulldoze the abandoned homes and buildings ...
...hire more police

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13Alexinytown(246 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

I think this is more about turning a tragedy into political grandstanding than actually doing anything. There have been murders on all sides of the city for decades, but now it is politically expedient to make an issue out of it now that it is election season.

Thanks for caring now guys, but you are thirty years too late.

Cordray particularly is probably doing this because he NEEDS turnout in Mahoning County to make up for the losses in the rest of the state. If this was such a Democratic stronghold, why has he bought a billboard on every block of this county? It should be a shoe in for him in this town, but judging by how much he has spent here, I am guessing his campaign manager and staffers do not believe that to be the case.

Hell, he is so desperate that Paul Gains is doing ads for him on the radio now.

Don't be deceived by all of this with St. Dom's. It is indeed a tragedy, but they've been milking this thing for weeks on end. They should be ashamed of themselves for using this as a political ploy.

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14mrblue(970 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

All those who are getting government hand outs should be made to work for them and not sit on their arses all day. Make them clean up the blighted areas and maintain Y-town. There is certainly enough of them. You need to call in the National Guard, the OSP and the Sheriffs to completely cover Y-town. It will work simply because there isn't enough police officers to do the job the way it needs to be done.

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15Independent55(13 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Richard Cordray is a fraud and a snake who should be removed from office. Read about how he seized the attorney general's office by rewarding the guilty and destroying the innocent:

http://www.humanismbyjoe.com/Cordray_...

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16nane6(29 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

All the comments and good ideas are good for how long? Why did it take the murder of two elderly white people in order for our paid goverment officials to decide to do something about the crime in Ytown? What about the realtor who was killed? Oh, I forgot, the caught her killers so the Eastside of town is safe now. Give me a break. Do you know why the Southside is so bad, because nobody gives a damn. These thugs know it's just a bunch of hot air for right now! When this blows over, its back to business as usual. Those empty houses on Lucius did not cause this murders. Lack of home training and lack of a judicial that is not afraid to punish offenders did. Get the property owners to be responsible for tearing those houses down and use the money for more police officers all over Ytown, not just one area because a priest and an elected official made a stink.

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17Conservatism_Will_Prospers(91 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

IBuck I agree completely with your posting. I often associate with most of the neighbors on the west side. If we see something out of the ordinary we will not hesitate to inform LEO of any suspicious situation. The best way to deter crime is to be involved in our communities and be resilient against crime! My fiancee and myself are constantly picking up trash from the streets, asking how our neighbors are doing, and staying involved with our neighborhood. Worst case senario I hope that me nor my fiancee are never confronted with a violent attack because we both have very good aim!

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18hmm(179 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

@ iBuck--- WOW SOMEBODY finally gets it - I have been saying AND doing this for a while and I live on the Southside I know and wave to my neighbors( they back to me) keep not only MY yard and house presentable BUT a couple vacants on my block (funny now other neighbors are doing the same thing after I expained my reasoning ) --MY neighborhood --MY world - the problem can't be allowed to get out of hand or it will get uncontrolable. If the manpower and resources aren' t there then take responsiblity to keep YOUR neighbor----hood up............... remember YOU and other good people live there so it is YOUR problem and responsiblity

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