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Youngstown cops seek residents to catch speeders

Published: Mon, July 11, 2011 @ 12:10 a.m.


Youngstown Police Detective Sgt. Anita Davis demonstrates the laser radar gun with camera and video that Youngstown police plan to train residents to use. Police Chief Jimmy Hughes argues the new program will be more eff ective than placing warning signs about speeding in city neighborhoods.


A select group of residents will be trained to use the laser radar gun with camera and video. Youngstown police plan to put several units in the hands of some block watch members and residents in an effort to curb speeding in residential neighborhoods.

By John W. Goodwin Jr.



The Youngstown Police Department is looking for a few good men and women willing to take up arms and curb minor criminal activity throughout the city.

The minor crime in question is speeding, and the arms — camera-equipped radar guns.

The department needs at least 12 residents willing to undergo training and take to the streets to catch speeders.

Detective Sgt. Anita Davis said the department is ready to kick off its neighborhood speed-watch program. The department will train members of block watches and neighborhood associations to use the radar guns in areas where speeding has been a problem.

Davis said drivers often are unaware of their speed or the impact it has on the neighborhoods through which they are traveling.

The radar campaign, she said, will encourage motorists to slow down and send a message that residents will no longer tolerate excessive speed in their neighborhoods.

“This is a safety factor in getting people to reduce speed. People should be able to back out of their driveways, and kids should be able to play in the street without getting mowed down by speeding cars,” Davis said.

Police Chief Jimmy Hughes said having residents out with radar guns monitoring traffic is better than placing a simple sign in a neighborhood asking drivers to slow down.

“This is another form of citizens’ patrol. It is a public-relations thing for law-abiding people who live in these neighborhoods, drive normally and want to be involved,” Hughes said.

Davis hopes to start the first training class sometime this month, but at least 12 volunteers are needed.

Participants would be trained in how to use the radar unit as well as how to collect information on a log form and verify the information collected.

Training will take about eight hours. At the end of the training session, volunteers will be given a radar unit to use while patrolling the streets and a bright-colored safety vest.

“The vests are highly visible, and drivers seeing those vests, knowing they will be clocked, will make people slow down. That is the whole goal here: to make people slow down,” Davis said.

Information collected by the residents will not result in a ticket but will tell officers where additional enforcement is needed.

“The volunteers have no enforcement responsibilities at all,” she said. “Their responsibility is to simply record the information and forward it to us.”

Police are not planning to issue tickets immediately, either.

Motorists recorded speeding will receive a warning card from the department showing the time, date, location and rate of speed, but if a person is recorded speeding multiple times in a single location, police will be called out.

“Then we will no longer be issuing a warning,” Davis said.

Police say calls for reduced speed in residential neighborhoods is the most frequent request from residents.

Davis said the six fatalities in the city this year is almost equal to the seven homicides recorded in the same period.

Though not every accident can be attributed to speed, she said reducing speed can be a big factor in reducing fatalities and serious injuries.

Interested volunteers should contact the police at 330-742-8926.


1timOthy(802 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Interesting ! What does this Cop job pay ?? And will it hold up in court ? I say no . How much did those devices cost ? And the Million dollar question . Does all the kids in Youngstown play in the streets ? If so you should arrest their parents or are they the ones that are speeding ??

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2lee(544 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Ummm the Germans had a very busy plan for their people to spy on each other too ??? Whats next maybe" Mister policeman mommy and daddy set of fireworks last week"

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3Photoman(1246 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

While the objective of the program appears to be admirable, the use of citizens patrolling really bothers me. We're now asked to turn in those we see smoking in the wrong area, turn in those who, in our opinion, may be driving under the influence, anyone who may be spanking their child and to turn in our neighbors for so many more reasons. Doesn't all of this lead to a society of paranoid citizens where the citizens can easily be manipulated by the government?

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4Woodley(26 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

A better idea would be for the officials to communicate with the officials in East Cleveland, Ohio. There they have installed trafic cameras on main streets such as Euclid Ave, It works. Streets here such as Market and Glenwood have become interstate 680. This is the only city I have lived where you can turn left on red, stop look and go through the red light and park on either side of the street. I would estimate that over half of Y-town drivers have no licsence.

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5Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

How about those gunshot detectors ? As if the public doesn't know the sound of a gunshot on their own . IT'S ALL GOOD IN THA HOOD .

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6MLC75(660 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

People don't get involved when someone is shot or murdered right in front of them.What makes you think they will do this ?If there is a problem with speeding and running lights,set up the Highway Patrol in those areas or have YPD do the work,not every day citizens.

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7walter_sobchak(2673 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago


I have to agree with you on this point. We tell the citizens that they need to take an active role in turning around their heighborhoods and when something is proposed, some people bitch and complain. This sounds like a common sense approach to counteracting minor crime, which these traffic violations certainly are. Red traffic signals in Y-town appear to only be a suggestion to some. I just hope the vests don't make them easy targets.

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8DwightK(1535 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Youngstown faces extraordinary challenges so a little out of the box thinking is needed. Any plan that helps residents of a neighborhood take responsibility for their neighborhood is a good thing. These quality of life crimes are what make people move.

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9Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

DwightK :

What makes me move is the sound of a gunshot . Oh I know that this may be politically incorrect but my urge to move is for a quick responce . . ..

Never fear Youngstonians . . .. If you can't respond in time to quench the gunfire your remains will be hauled off . If you didn't injure your killer no charges will be filed .

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10mark(60 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Maybe YPD should set an example before they ask citizens to obey the law. There have been countless times I've seen YPD patrol cars speeding up and down Mahoning Avenue, 5th Avenue, and I-680 far beyond the speed limit with no sirens or lights flashing. They aren't on a call. I was even passed by a YPD patrol car on Mahoning Avenue last year and I was going 35 MPH. Why should residents of Youngstown feel compelled to have respect for the law when law enforcement doesn't?

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11uetz(38 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

"...kids should be able to play in the street without getting mowed down by speeding cars,” Davis said.

Kids should be able to play in the street without getting hit by cars???
That's like saying you should be able to jump into a pool without getting wet. How ignorant can some people get? I know where I was raised, playing in the street was something tolerated, but you had to give respect to people on the road, and give the drivers the right-of-way. Today, when you drive through Youngstown neighborhoods, you have to lay on the horn to get people to move off the street you are trying to drive down.

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12Betabeta(2 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

This is a completely ridiculous idea. Youngstown cannot even control the violent crimes in the city and they are worried about people going 5 miles above the speed limit. Take the money that will be invested in this and put another police officer on the streets. I swear Youngstown officials must stay awake at night trying to figure out how to waste money.

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13Askmeificare(1170 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

This is a great idea!

Shoulda got this program started in 1984.

God speed to all involved!

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