YNDC receives huge grant to fight crime/blight - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

YNDC receives huge grant to fight crime/blight

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The Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation is getting $850,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice to fight crime on Youngstown's south side.  

The grant will target the areas between Market Street and South Avenue where city leaders believe the highest crime concentration exists.

The money will focus on several different initiatives, the first being getting residents to look out for one another and beautify their own areas.

Tom Hetricks from the YNDC said, "We'll have a community organizer who works to get more neighborhood organizations up and running and support the ones that already exist. Help them better to connect with resources to do projects."

Second, they'll educate people on how they can better protect themselves and not be an easy target for crime.

"Everything from going around and doing seminars and going door to door and talking to individuals. There's money within the grant to provide businesses and individuals with hardware like locks and lights and cameras," said Capt. Jason Simon of the Youngstown Police Department.

Oven Fresh Pizza off South Avenue received some YNDC funding for lighting recently. Its owners say it's made a difference already. 

Owner Angel Cruz said, "In the back of the building there was no light at all. You would have homeless people going back there late at night drinking or whatever. Now, we have it all lit up with motion detectors. So if someone comes around the lights come on and it freaks them out and they get out of here."

Some of the funding will go to the demolition of vacant houses in the city. They estimate there are over 500 in this neighborhood alone.

Organizers believe all these initiatives can together make a huge difference in making the south side a safer place to live and work.

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