YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – As part of our “In-Depth” series, we’ve been focusing on crime in the Valley.

This week, WKBN Community Affairs Director Dee Crawford was joined by Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains to talk about the role his office plays in cracking down on crime.

Gains has been prosecutor since January 1997, and since then, there have been a lot of changes.

“Well, we’ve expanded the duties of the prosecutor’s office, primarily on the civil side of the office. When I first took office, the various boards like Children’s Services and Board of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, they had their own counsel,” he said. “But we have assumed those duties, so we will now represent every board and in the county.”

Gains said there were cost-saving reasons behind that change.

“And I’m proud to say now that when I first took office, the townships didn’t usually use the prosecutor’s office. Now all 14 townships use the prosecutor’s office, and actually, Boardman Township, because it’s a charter form of government, actually pays the county for me to act, me and my people to act as their law director, so I think that’s a cost savings benefit also,” he said.

Gains said his office prosecutes felony and misdemeanor cases in the county. He also represents all boards, townships and public officials.

Gains said despite the perception, crimes are actually down in Mahoning County.

“Obviously, one crime is, one homicide is obviously one too many. But they are down. Nationwide, yes, they are increasing. But I’m glad to say that in Mahoning County, they’re either maintaining or they’re down from, especially from when I took office,” he said. “But when I took office, of course, you know, my predecessor was engaged in criminal activity and fixing cases, and I attributed a lot of that to the high homicides back then.”

Dee also talked with the prosecutor about the process after a crime has been committed and his role in reacting with the local police department. You can see that interview on First News at 5 p.m. Wednesday or later on