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Police, bar owners unite to cut crime

Staff photo / Ed Runyan photo Youngstown Mayor Jamael Tito Brown talks to reporters Wednesday about recent killings and how the Youngstown Police Department is trying to combat violence involving drinking establishments. At left is police Capt. Brian Butler.

YOUNGSTOWN — Because of the recent surge of violence and shooting deaths at or around drinking establishments in Youngstown, the city is taking extra steps to involve the owners of such clubs, police Chief Carl Davis announced Wednesday.

“There is a substantial link around violence and area bars and nightclubs,” he said. “We have had five major shootings involving these bars and nightclubs.”

He said one solution is to “manage large crowds leaving the bars without targeting specific individuals,” Davis said. “We have met with several bar owners recently and have discussed plans to make bars and clubs safer by actively prompting dispersal at the end of the night.”

One of the shootings was at Utopia Video Nightclub early April 3 on Midlothian Boulevard on the South Side that left local rapper Charles Allen Jr., 27, dead. Police said Wednesday they have no updates on that case.

Another one involving a bar was at the Torch Club Bar and Grill on Salt Springs Road on the West Side May 23 where two men were shot to death and two others were wounded. Capt. Rod Foley of the Youngstown Police Department said they are still waiting for ballistics evidence to return from the state’s crime lab.

Regarding the three people who were shot at Miss Daisy’s Place on South Avenue early Sunday, Foley said the two female victims were released from the hospital the same night and the male who was shot is “recovering.”

He said detectives believe one person committed the shootings, but police are still investigating to determine what caused them.

CLUB SECURITY

Foley said one problem that has become apparent is that security forces are not able to handle the type of incidents that have occurred.

“We’re going to set some things up to assist security, maybe identify some bar owners who are at least trying to take steps to create safe environments. We want to make sure that they understand what they are permitted and not permitted to do,” he said.

Especially with officers working the evening hours, the police department will work with bar owners and their security personnel “and determine whether that security is appropriate for that establishment. If not, we are going to try to immediately stop it that night.”

He said the city will make use of help being offered by Gov. Mike DeWine’s office to help owners to “get what they paid for” in terms of security services.

He said there will be an emphasis on this effort over the next few weeks.

f he said.

‘UNPREDECENTED’

Capt. Brian Butler said this has been an “unprecedented time in law enforcement with the rise in violence coupled with short staffing,” he said.

He said Youngstown detectives are working an “unspeakable” amount of hours. He said patrol officers are working mandated overtime and are tired, but they are “doing an amazing professional job” under these conditions.

Also at the news conference, Mayor Jamael Tito Brown said the city is putting a lot of effort into working with social service agencies to ensure that victims of crime are able to access mental-health services.

“Post-traumatic stress is real to lose a loved one,” he said. “If you are a young man or woman, and you lose a loved one, they may not know how to process that,” he said.

erunyan@vindy.com

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