YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – There has been a rise in violence among a younger crowd in the area, leaving many parents worried.
As of July 29, there have been 17 homicide victims under the age of 25 in Youngstown. Of those 17, six were under the age of 20.
The average age of homicide victims has fallen significantly. From 2016 to 2020, the average age was around 32 years old. In 2021, that age dropped to 26 years old.
There are extra steps you can take to keep your family safe.
The director of YUMADAOP (Youngstown Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Program) says kids and parents can do a lot to create a safer environment for their families, while opening up the conversation about gun violence and other tough subjects.
Parents can start by enlisting their household as a Safe Home. You can go to WeAreASafeHomeYTown.com and pledge that your home is a safe home, which means your home is drug-free, guns and alcohol are locked in a secure place, and kids will not be left unattended.
Then other parents can see your home is a safe home and vice versa.
“It’s something that protects our young people for where they’re going,” said project director Joyce Alexander. “When they get together, it’s saying that this home is safe for our young people to go into.”
Kids can take it upon themselves to get involved. Alexander said the organization provides a lot for the young ones in the community.
“It’s all about them, you know? So what do they have to say? And that is where my coalition comes in at. It’s a voice and I want to hear their voices.”
Kids and teens can also take advantage of lots of great community classes and events. These range from fun activities like the “Prom” they are hosting soon to classes that teach kids basic adult skills.
If you are interested in getting involved in the community, you can call Joyce Alexander at 330-743-2772 ext. 123.