YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – This week in our In-Depth segment, WKBN Community Affairs Director Dee Crawford spoke with Youngstown Police Chief Carl Davis about housing in the city and community policing.
Housing on the South Side is a main focus. There are many vacant houses and a lot of Section 8 housing for low-income residents. There are multiple generations living in the same home where children are being raised.
“How do we mitigate generational poverty? That’s a very good question. Community involvement is key,” Davis said. “When I first became police chief, I believed strongly in community policing efforts — going out to the neighborhoods, getting involved with the youth. We also are very instrumental in starting the midnight basketball, the Respect Basketball League, which gives youth something to do,” Davis said.
Davis, who is also a self-proclaimed ventriloquist, took the idea of getting closer to youth by performing a puppet show for kids at last year’s Juneteenth Celebration in Youngstown, a move to show children a police officer in a different way. Mayor Tito Brown also dressed as Santa Claus during Christmas.
“Community involvement and I want to see more of it,” Davis said. “I want them to be able to see something in a different light.”
Davis recounted a story about an officer who recently volunteered to stand watch at a school playground so children could play outside. He said recent violence in the neighborhood had prevented the kids from going on the playground.
“We’d like to see more of that,” he said.