Youngstown murder rate on track to be lowest in decades - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio


Youngstown murder rate on track to be lowest in decades

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A homicide earlier this week is Youngstown's sixth for the year.  At that rate, the city is on pace to experience one of the lowest homicide rates in decades.

The vigilance of Youngstown's police patrols is just one major force keeping the murder rate on the decline according to YPD's chief of detectives, Captain Brad Blackburn.

"They're being aggressive out there, making a lot of traffic stops and contacts. They've recovered probably over 100 guns this year," Captain Blackburn said.

The city's police chief Robin Lees also credits the YPD detective division with making timely arrests after a homicide occurs. He says it's critical to keep potential retaliation from claiming more victims in some cases.

"Our detective bureau has had great success in solving the homicides we have had. In fact, one of the cases would have probably been likely to have spun off retaliation type violence. Detectives worked about 32 hours straight from the time of the killing until three people associated with it were in jail. Again, the fact that we were able to make those arrests very quickly after the crime, and identify the individuals involved is critical in stopping the continuation of the violence from one incident," Chief Lees said.

So far this year a total of six people have died as victims of violence. The number was double that amount at this same time last year, and in 1995 when Youngstown recorded a record homicide rate 34 people died as a result of violence at this same time.

Chief Lees says one critical factor is that the number of felonious assaults, meaning, shootings, stabbings, and beatings has declined by 31-percent since last year.

Now along with the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence or the C.I.R.V. Program, that's already having an impact to stop the violence related to gangs, guns and drugs, the Chief plans to deploy a new updated form of a community policing unit.

"Toward the end of the year we will be looking at staffing a community policing unit that will be deploying one officer in each of the council wards to work with each of the council members, and we hope that that foothold we gain there will sustain this downward trend," Chief Lees said.

Now I'm not so naive to tell you we've got a handle on this. One or two individuals can change those numbers very quickly. So we're doing everything we can, and the proactiveness of the patrol division is a key to that as well," according to the chief.

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