Safety summit stresses the importance of block watch groups - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Safety summit stresses the importance of block watch groups

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - At Saint Dominic's Church in Youngstown on Saturday, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies shared information with block watch presidents on how they are working together to reduce violent crimes.

FBI Supervisor Special Agent Todd Werth emphasized that making streets safe begins with relationships with people who live in the neighborhood.

Werth says people are the eyes and ears of the community, and they know what's going so when law enforcement meets face to face with them. It's that partnership that makes it effective in addressing crime problems.

The problems are being addressed through a number of programs and partnerships with all of the agencies working together on short and long term solutions to violent crimes.

In Youngstown, the number of homicides during the first half of this year is six, at least half the number in previous years.

The FBI, Ohio BCI, the Mahoning County Sheriff, local police, along with state, and federal prosecutors all say they cannot do their jobs without people who will report what they saw and cooperate.

Youngstown Councilwoman Janet Tarpley said if you see it, report it. Tarpley said she thinks there is a fear about telling. She said "we have to throw all of that stuff out the door." The councilwoman believes people are finally starting to do that in the community and you can see there is a different feel in the 6th ward.

Father Greg Maturi at Saint Doninic's Church, who called for the first crime summit, says the only way evil can triumph is when good people do nothing. He urges everyone to get involved with their neighborhood block watches, with their local politicians, their council persons, the mayor, and to get involved with the various law enforcement agencies, and the prosecutor's office.

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