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Youngstown City officials ask U.S. Department of Justice to help with crime-fighting strategy

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - The Youngstown mayor's office and police chief have requested the assistance of the U.S. Department of Justice to combat the city's crime problem.

On Friday, officials from Washington, D.C. were in town to meet with city officials.

Along with representatives from the Department of Justice, Dr. Tenae Jordan, the founder of Stop the Madness, Inc. a program designed to combat violent crime, was also in town. He met with city leaders and Valley pastors.

Jordan's oldest son was at a piano lesson in Fort Wayne, Indiana when he was shot in the head. The innocent victim of someone else's gunfire, he survived.

But Jordan told the group that it takes an entire community to team up with police to stop the violence and that includes understanding the tough job of police officers.

"It's not just the police department's responsibility. It's the parents responsibility, it's the schools' responsibility, it's the communities responsibility. But we've got to sit down and talk about it and come up with a holistic plan," Jordan said.

Involving the community is one key to the success of Jordan's anti-violence program that has become a "best practice" in several major cities, including, Fort Wayne, Indiana and Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Amy Staubs, with the U.S. Department of Justice, tells 21 News, "We received a request from the city of Youngstown to help them address the concerns about violent crime in the city. So we've been working with the office of the mayor and the police chief since April. In May we had our first meetings with the city to talk about violent crime."

The Office of Justice Programs has been collecting data about youth violence, guns and gangs in Youngstown, and now, they're presenting their findings to Youngstown leaders and providing strategies to stop the violence and take back the streets.

"Many of those strategies not only are from the law enforcement perspective of enforcement, but very much involve community members, faith leaders, education, early education and child care programs," Staub says.

The exact details of the strategies have not been made public at this point, but Justice Department officials agree that the C.I.R.V. Initiative or Community Initiative to Reduce Violence, that's already in the works by the city is on the right track.

Its focus is on bringing in the faith-based leaders and teaming up with the community to address a problem that impacts the quality of life for those who live and work in the city.

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