YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — There’s been a disturbing development over the first seven months of this year that has some females in Youngstown concerned.

Of the seven people murdered this year — four have been female. Some are wondering why it’s happening, and whether females in Youngstown should be concerned.

Dionne Dowdy is executive director — with Carshara Bradley, housing director — of Youngstown’s United Returning Citizens, which helps people leaving prison reacclimate to society. They understand crime and criminals.

Should we be concerned that the majority of people murdered so far this year in Youngstown have been female?

“I definitely think we need to be concerned about that,” Dowdy said.

“Today, this generation, I’ve never seen nothing like this. It’s very scary,” said Bradley.

The number of females murdered in Youngstown over the last three years can be broken down as follows:

  • 2020 — 3
  • 2021 — 1
  • 2022 — 0
  • 2023 — 4 (to date)

“Women are supposed to be protected, in all cultures — even in our culture, we feel women are to be protected,” Dowdy said. “Now, we’re seeing that they’re not. They’re not protected, so that even alarms me. So am I safe?”

Bradley grew up among the violence of Youngstown South Side and was formally incarcerated 8 years ago.

“It never was with women. There was a lot of fighting. People would have a little fist fight, and we’ll go back to the park or something,” Bradley said.

The ages of the females killed have been 13, 15, 19 and 41. The youngest two were shot and killed while attending parties.

“To just see these young girls — just at a party, having a good time with their family or their friends — and someone comes around the corner and just shoots up the whole place — I’ve never experienced nothing like that,” Bradley said.

So far this year, United Returning Citizens has dealt with 130 women who’ve come out of prison, of which 76 were last year.

“Is it the mental health situation? Or is it a relationship situation? We don’t know, but we know we’re seeing a rise in females,” Dowdy said.

Together, Dowdy and Bradley did not have a solution to the rising number of females being murdered in Youngtown, but they plan to find one. One possibility is taking a survey, looking at the results, and from there seeing what can be done.