Online Exclusive: How Safe is Campus?

According to police reports, there have only been three incidents regarding firearms on Youngstown State University’s campus in the past two years, with only one occurring close to the main campus.

Although YSU’s campus is their main priority, it’s not the only place that the YSU Police Department has to be ready to respond in. The YSUPD has a mutual aid agreement with the city, meaning if the city of Youngstown needs their help, they have to be ready to back them up. The YSUPD work to keep not only the campus safe, but the city of Youngstown as well.

“There’s actually another all-encompassing document — it’s a county mutual aid agreement. It allows for all emergency responders in Mahoning County to help each other,” YSU Police Chief John Beshara said.

Essentially, this means the YSUPD has to be ready to respond anywhere in Mahoning County at any time.

Within the city, the YSUPD patrol area spans from downtown Youngstown to Wick Park.

“We actually really try to maintain or keep Wick Park secure because a lot of our students use it,” Beshara said.

Ed Villone, a former police officer of 26 years, believes that the patrols conducted by the YSUPD, along with the YPD, are vital to explaining the low number of firearms incidents.

“Overall, the incidents of gun use and gun violence have been minimized by the patrols of the YSUPD and the YPD,” Villon said.

Villone, who is also an intervention specialist at the YSU Center for Student Progress, says that some factors commonly go by unseen when it comes to crime rates.

“One of the key elements, that is sometimes overlooked, is our ability to incarcerate people and keep them incarcerated. So they’re not out committing crimes,” Villone said.

Maintaining security on campus is the YSUPD’s top priority, and has been the focus of programs and initiatives since their inception.

“We become hyper-vigilant,” Beshara said. “We watch what’s going on a little more closely.”