YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — It’s an annual ritual of spring in Youngstown as regular as the blooming of the flowers in Fellows Riverside Gardens: Increased police patrols.
The city announced Thursday that they will be beginning their Impact Initiative or saturation patrols in neighborhoods experiencing high areas of gun crimes and high areas of drug crimes.
Several agencies will be taking part including the Ohio State Highway Patrol; the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office; the Adult Parole Authority, the FBI; the U.S. Marshals; and the Mahoning County Prosecutors Office.
Typically, a city police officer teams up with a trooper from the patrol or personnel from one of the other agencies to patrol a certain neighborhood.
Mayor Jamael Tito Brown thanked all the agencies for their help and said Gov. Mike DeWine reached out to him Tuesday to offer whatever assistance the city needs.
“We can do a lot better together than we can apart,” Brown said.
Police Chief Carl Davis said that crime has come down in the city in the last couple of years and the patrols are one of the reasons why.
The city went from 31 homicides in 2021 to 19 in 2022. The number of shootings also decreased from 139 in 2021 to 68 in 2022.
Davis said the combined effort will allow the different agencies to share resources and intelligence.
“You will see a high volume of police activity in your neighborhoods as we look to take more guns off of our streets,” Davis said. “Our goal is to restore peace and quality of life.”
Sgt. Ray Santiago of the patrol’s Public Affairs Office said the patrols will focus on traffic stops. Last year, personnel made 459 traffic stops which resulted in 59 arrests including 39 felony charges including 11 gun offenses.
The patrol will also offer its investigative branch if needed and the Ohio Investigative Unit will also be used to handle stops or cases involving alcohol or drugs.
The patrol will also be using their helicopters to help with the effort on the ground. A video was played at the announcement showing how helicopters last year were able to track people and vehicles who were fleeing police.
The patrols will run until fall, but officials did not reveal a starting date.