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Kasich pledges to help reduce crime



Published: Tue, February 8, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

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The Vindicator (Youngstown)

Gov. John Kasich came to YSU the day after the shooting that claimed the life of 25-year-old Jamail Johnson of Indiana Avenue.

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Governor John Kasich

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Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams

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Chief Jimmy Hughes.

By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Gov. John Kasich agreed to requests from city and Youngstown State University officials aimed at reducing crimes such as the Sunday shootings near the campus.

But Kasich said, “I can’t tell you that any one of those things could have stopped this from happening, but I think all these things comprehensively can provide a greater sense of safety and security for people that live in this Valley.”

Kasich came to YSU on Monday, the day after the shooting.

The shooting occurred at an off-campus house about 3:40 a.m. Sunday. Of the 11 others shot, five are YSU students.

Before addressing the media, Kasich and members of his staff and cabinet met privately for about 75 minutes Monday with Mayor Jay Williams, Police Chief Jimmy Hughes, YSU President Dr. Cynthia E. Anderson, and YSU trustees and officials.

At that meeting, the city and YSU officials gave a list to Kasich of proposals to reduce crime. At the press conference after the private discussion, Kasich said he’d implement all of them.

They are:

Increase the presence of the Ohio State Highway Patrol as well as other law-enforcement agencies in the city. This has occurred a number of other times after horrific crimes have occurred.

Crack down on businesses that sell alcohol to those who are not of legal age. The Ohio Department of Public Safety and state Division of Liquor Control will handle that.

Police said several 17-year-olds were at the party. Williams and Kasich questioned why any 17-year-old would be at a party past 3 a.m. Though police described the group of people at the Indiana Avenue house as an after-party, Hughes said only one beer can was found at the scene.

“Was there drinking? I don’t know,” he said.

Create a land bank that would allow the city to obtain ownership of vacant parcels that are used, at times, for illegal activity. Mahoning County officials recently proposed a land bank.

Kasich and Williams also talked of changing state law to increase the prison sentence of those convicted of using a weapon on or near a school, university or house of worship.

Kasich suggested what would amount to an overhaul of the state penal system that would keep those in state prisons who commit “minor crimes” away from those in prisons for violent crimes.

“These steps may not have prevented this [incident] but will help prevent a sense of lawlessness,” Williams said after the press conference.

Kasich, who’s been governor for a little more than a month, said he wants to see results from what will be implemented to help reduce violence.

“These things have been talked about,” Kasich said. “What bothers me about talk is it is cheap.”

Kasich said he wants to develop a job-creation environment to give people in the Mahoning Valley hope and optimism. That would reduce crime, he said.

Anderson and Williams praised Kasich for coming to Youngstown to talk about the shootings and what could be done to reduce crime in the Valley. Kasich, in return, complimented the two for their response to the incident.

Williams said he “couldn’t be more impressed with” Kasich for coming to Youngstown so quickly after the shootings.


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