Influx of renters in Youngstown is not cause of crime spike in city
I am the President of the Westside Citizens Coalition and a leader with the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative. I write because, in an article on June 12 titled “More Calls on West, South Sides,” my statements were not quoted in their entirety, and an important point was lost.
I did say that since I have moved to the West Side in 2000, I have seen an increase in gunfire and violent crimes. I also stated that there are more rental properties now. I made it quite clear, however, that I do not believe there is a direct correlation between rental households and crime.
There are renters and homeowners who are assets to the neighborhood just as there are renters and homeowners who are not assets to the neighborhood. I know many people who choose to rent because they do not want the responsibility of the upkeep that a home requires, but this does not mean they care any less about how they take care of their surroundings.
Saying that there is more crime in the city because of an influx of renters infuriates me. The reason there is more crime in Youngstown is the same reason there is more crime in every other city in the nation: It is a sign of the recent recession and long-standing systems that don’t work for everyday people.
In my capacity as a representative of the Westside Citizens Coalition. I am in contact with many residents not only on the West Side of Youngstown but throughout the city, and we often discuss the state of the city. These residents care about their neighborhoods whether they rent or own.
I would like to encourage all city residents to become more involved in their city and their neighborhood by attending a meeting of their local neighborhood association.
West Siders can attend the coalition meetings that take place the second Tuesday of the month starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Davis Center at Fellows Riverside Gardens in Mill Creek MetroParks.
We are working together to make Youngstown a better place to live for all residents — not just some residents. And we certainly do not check to see if they rent or own before we engage with them.
Becky Hutton, Youngstown
The writer is the president of the Westside Citizens Coalition.