Police need observations and reports from alert and concerned residents to maximize their effectiveness, the supervisor of Warren’s municipal emergency services told a crime-prevention task force.
“A police force can only be as good as the information it has,” Enzo Cantalamessa, Warren’s safety-service director, said Friday at Youngstown’s City Hall.
“Community involvement goes a long, long way in helping law enforcement do its job,” Cantalamessa told the Mahoning Valley Task Force on Crime and Violence.
Community organizations and neighborhood associations give police vital information about suspicious activity “to ideally stop crime before it happens,” he said.
Jim Winston, president of Greater Youngstown Crime Stoppers and public-safety coordinator at the Youngstown Metropolitan Housing Authority, said he would like to expand Crime Stoppers’ efforts in Trumbull County.
Crimestoppers, which can be reached at 330-746-CLUE (2583), accepts anonymous tips and offers rewards up to $2,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of suspects in serious criminal cases.
The task force “has reached out to be a cross-county collaboration with Trumbull County,” said Tina Milner, Warren Weed & Seed coordinator.
Weed & Seed is a federally funded program of law enforcement and community activities designed to stabilize neighborhoods.
Local law-enforcement officials have noted anecdotally that criminals, especially those engaged in drug activity, appear recently to have become more mobile among Mahoning Valley communities, Cantalamessa said.
“That’s where I think it becomes so important for the two communities to work together,” he said of Warren and Youngstown.
Milner urged that a home-security checklist Warren mails with its bills to its water customers should be enclosed with bills to Youngstown water customers.
Madonna Chism Pinkard, a task-force board member, agreed to prepare for Youngstowners a sheet listing telephone numbers of city officials who can address neighborhood blight-related issues, which would be similar to one that was created for Warren residents.
Warren’s sheet gives contact information for city officials who can address problems such as junk vehicles, dilapidated housing, high grass, loose dogs and illegal dumping.