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North Boardman group keeps eyes open for suspicious activity



Published: Sun, March 6, 2011 @ 12:10 a.m.

For 9 years, north Boardman group has kept its eyes open for suspicious activity

By Ashley Luthern

aluthern@vindy.com

BOARDMAN

On Hudson Drive, the rows of houses are brick, and the lawns are trimmed.

The cold has kept people and pets indoors, save for an occasional car driving past. Hudson Drive is quiet.

It doesn’t seem like the same neighborhood where car windows were smashed, sheds broken into and residents robbed at gunpoint.

“I’ve walked the dogs through these streets and never had any issues or problems at all,” said Ralph Meacham, president of the North Boardman Block Watch, which encompasses the northern part of the township known collectively as The Glen.

But he has had some other problems. On a recent Fourth of July, a man tried to break in Meacham’s garage door.

“The police came and chased him with dogs, and the person ran back,” he said.

The block watch began about nine years ago after a string of vandalism, said Charlotte Diss, who has lived in the area for 11 years.

The block watch meets at 6 p.m. on the second Wednesday of odd months at the Newport Library on the corner of Market Street and Midlothian Boulevard. The next meeting is Wednesday.

Attendance fluctuates depending on crime levels. After a man walking his dog was robbed at gunpoint, 38 residents came to the following block watch meeting, but attendance usually averages a dozen, Diss said.

Howard Taylor has lived on Hudson Drive for 16 years and been in the block watch since its inception.

“The police tell us it’s not just The Glen — it’s all over. It’s hard to convince the people who live in The Glen that that’s the case because we don’t see what goes on the other side of [U.S. Route] 224,” Taylor said.

Police Chief Jack Nichols agreed, although he noted the neighborhood has the disadvantage of being within walking distance to the South Side of Youngstown.

“As an average, [the area] is no more subject to the goings on of the street thugs and crime than anybody else. They’re pretty consistent with the rest of the township,” he said.

Nichols said he knows of two other township block watches and that the police department encourages the formation of such groups.

“They’re feisty out there. They make their case for what they want. They’re taxpayers, and I respect that. I like that they’re involved. It’s nothing but a benefit for us,” he added.

The block-watch members call the police when they see something suspicious and urge other homeowners to do the same. They also keep a special watch on their elderly neighbors.

“We made a very conscientious effort to watch the property, watch the houses and check on them. Some didn’t have family nearby. It was just watching out for everybody. I feel personally all neighbors should do that,” Diss said.

Meacham, Diss and Taylor agree that the block watch is not project-oriented, but if something arises, such as cleaning up dilapidated apartments, they undertake it. It functions as an outlet for communication among residents and township elected and safety officials.

“I don’t think we succeed or fail in this. When we come together, it’s a forum. If we sit there, and it’s six of us looking at each other and we talk for half an hour, we go on our way. We are there to give people a chance to talk if they have an issue,” Meacham said.


Comments

1auntiem4cabs(113 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

this article...did you just tell the CRIMINAL when the residents are not at home/? Nice job Vindy!!

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2Stormieangel(136 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

So typical....a bunch of people show up when the crime goes up; otherwise, these same people don't want to 'waste' their time with this Block Watch. But you can bet they will be the first one to get upset if/when they have a burglary or vandalism. This happened in Springfield Twp when we were trying to fight having a landfill. The few did the work, tried to raise monies, get the EPA to help us (NOT), inform the people, etc.. Unfortunately, the big money of the landfill won and continues to this day. Wait til it is proven to be a source of cancer (definitely on the upswing here), water pollution, etc. and those who couldn't be bothered helping in the fight will be the first to fuss, especially if/when it starts to affect them!!!
All the decent people in North Boardman need to join this group and let it be known that the number of participates is growing and they are out to curb the crime. Even a few 'Right to Carry a Concealed Weapon licenses' will help too. Get speakers in to motivate the people to take back their streets, to know what to look for; keep those cell phones handy with the police numbers programmed in for quick use. Push the 'city fathers' to get rid of those abandoned buildings and get on the ball to do it soon. A well-organized group can do a lot of good. I know some people who live in that area and I hope they too will get involved. And as you folks make your streets safer, it means this country bumpkin will feel safer when I visit my friends. Good luck to all of you for you CANNOT rely on the LEGAL system we have. We do NOT have a JUSTICE system unless it is half-assed, done with plea-bargaining violent crimes down; and rape becomes a gross sexual imposition!!! What a slap in the face of the victim and justice.

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3gmafb(3 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Just face the facts Boardman is a crap town its nothing but one big shopping mall with its own share of thugs,drug dealers,meth and crack smokers, instead of blaming everyone else for your problems you should focus on your own residents.

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4Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

you should focus on your own residents
Going no further than BHS

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5Tigerlily(495 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

So odd that the police chief Nichols says in one breath that the Glen has the same amount of crime on average as any other part of Boardman, but then notes that it's located in walking distance to the south side of Youngstown, as if that is an influence on the Glen's...what? Average Boardman crime rate? Where the south side of Youngstown is not in walking distance? This is the sort of attitude that perpetuates negativity toward a group of people without any cause to, since he said they receive no more crime incidents than any other part of Boardman on average.

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6Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Tigerlily well said

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7George412(161 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

I moved out of the Glen 12 years ago. We lived a block away from the late night Burger King, and that was it for us. It became far too noisy at night. However, I will say that crime in the Glen seems to get a great deal of attention, and I was always under the impression that it was a higher crime area until I read Nichols's statement that it's consistent with the rest of the township. Interesting, how perceptions can become skewed. I think Tigerlilly is onto something.

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