By Courtney Hibler
The city of Youngstown received a two-part grant totaling $1 million to help combat crime for the South Side Revitalization Project.
Senior GIS and Data Services Manager John Bralich, said this project will implement strategies for crime reduction on targeted areas in the city’s south side.
Fiscal Unit Commander Jason Simon, said the planning grant of $150,000 was given to 12 cities to implement a plan to combat crime in the city.
Youngstown was one of three chosen for an implementation grant worth $850,000, Simon said.
“We have to combat violent crime where it is,” Simon said.
Crime isn’t just a police issue, and it’s suggested residents get involved.
“We want to talk to residents about where they think crime is most at,” Simon said. “This grant gives us the opportunity for block watches to be the eyes and ears for the police department on things we might miss.”
As the seasons change in the city, so does crime.
“Violent crime goes on throughout the whole year,” Simon said. “However, as the holidays approach, burglary in department stores occur more often.”
Youngstown State University is involved with the plan.
Simon said YSU’s part is a data and research perspective to show what’s effective and what’s not.
The Youngstown Police Department has partnered with YSU and their crime analyst is working with Bralich.
“They’re identifying where the hotspots for crime come up and we monitor it for patterns and changes,” Simon said.
Police officers are sent out with the most recent intelligence and proactively take care of any problem.
YSU helped the city of Youngstown in the past with a number of planning initiatives, such as the Youngstown 2010 Comprehensive Land Use Plan, the overhaul of the city’s zoning code and neighborhood action plans under the direction of YNDC, Bralich said.
“YSU is also a long-standing partner of the city of Youngstown and Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation,” Bralich said.
Bralich serves as the research team leader for YSU.
“I oversee all data collection and analysis,” Bralich said. “This includes all GIS mapping, data analysis and fieldwork.”
The YSU Research Team is assigned the duty of assisting in problem definition, community engagement activities, completion of the final summary report and developing solutions, Bralich said.
Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences Richard Rogers said he is involved with the project as well.
“I put everything into perspective of the criminal justice side of things,” Rogers said.
YSU has goals set in place for this project.
“Our goals in this project are to reduce crime, improve neighborhood quality of life and to increase the collective efficacy of the target area,” Bralich said.
Simon said better practices will be used to listen to the community and residents on crime issues in the area.