Program targets at-risk young adults with plea to end violence in Youngstown

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CIRV hosted a call-in Thursday targeting young, at-risk adults

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown is seeing an uptick in violence as of late.

So far in the month of October, 13 people have been shot, Of those, the 13th victim was a 13-year-old girl.

In 2020, 84 people have been shot, and there were 23 homicides. That’s three more than last year’s total.

As community leaders try to tackle this latest string of shootings, The Community Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV) is reaching out to those at risk.

CIRV hosted a call-in Thursday targeting young, at-risk adults. Community leaders were invited to speak to the group about the harsh realities they face when they’re involved in violent crime.

“I’ve had too many of my friends die from gun violence, too many of my friend’s kids right now die,” said Youngstown Mayor Tito Brown.

Amanda Lencyk is the trauma injury and prevention coordinator for St. Elizabeth in Youngstown. She explained what it is like for a shooting victim’s family to wait on the news of their loved one.

“Our waiting room will begin to fill up with aunts, cousins, friends and neighbors, nosy people and people you never even know you touched or impacted will show up to our emergency department,” Lencyk said.

Each speaker emphasized the same phrase “the violence ends now,” hoping that the young adults sitting in the courtroom never walk through those doors again or even worse, lose their lives because of their involvement in a crime.

“If you end up in a courtroom, that judge will know you had this opportunity, It will factor into your sentence,” said Youngstown Police Chief Robin Lees.

Lees said that due to COVID-19, the department has been “off their game,” but they plan to increase patrols. There will be a strategic operation with state and federal law enforcement partners that will not only identify those who commit a crime but put people guilty of these crimes away for as long as possible, Lees said.

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