YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Thursday night, the Seventh Ward Citizens Coalition met with Youngstown police on the south side to create a dialogue between residents on what the city can do with its community policing initiative to reduce violence.
It follows the announcement that Youngstown’s community police initiative is restarting Monday, with a dedicated officer in the seventh ward.
Several officers, including Police Chief Carl Davis and Captain Jason Simon, answered residents’ questions about the violence.
There have been 22 shootings and seven homicides so far this year in the city.
“Cities and police departments everywhere are experiencing the same increase in gun violence,” said Davis.
Davis said the most important thing is for people to speak out and call 911 if they’re hearing gunshots or experiencing issues.
“If we are not all working in concert with one another we are going to fail. But trust me, failure is not an option,” said Davis.
Davis also said what they’re doing is working. This year alone the neighborhood response unit has sized over 600 guns during traffic stops.
Simon said every call to the police is important.
“Please call, please tell us where you think it came from, what you think you heard. I can promise you that sometimes just finding one shell casing, one piece of information from the caller can really make the difference,” said Simon.
Davis also said Youngstown police are continuing to install new surveillance cameras on the south side and are working on a grant to expand the range of their gunshot detection technology.
There have also been talks about a sub-station of the police department on the south side but finances are an issue.
Josie Lyon, President of the Seventh Ward Citizens Coalition, said she’s happy with the dialogue happening and hopes it brings a sense of security.
“Knowing that the officers are there if people need them, being able to see that they’re in the neighborhoods,” said Lyon.