Program Targets Youth to Deter Crime

Youngstown’s goal this summer to deter crime in the city will focus on youth.

A new program was announced Friday to encourage families to take a more active role in knowing where their children are.

“Do You Know Where Your Children Are?” will launch in May. Youngstown Mayor Chuck Sammarone and Youngstown police are trying to keep kids off the streets, and they will be holding parents accountable for their supervision.

“We can help, but the parent is the key,” said Sammarone.

The Community Initiative to Reduce Violence, or CIRV,has been working on the program since 2011. Similar programs have been successful in other cities like Cincinnati.

“One of the things we understood, though, is that we can’t arrest our way out of the issue in that it’s necessary to have prevention,” said CIRV coordinator Guy Burney.

Other agencies across the city like the Boys and Girls Club, The Rock on the West Side and the Salvation Army will assist in helping to provide kids activities throughout the summer.

“There will be things for your young people to do this summer. The thing is, again, we’re going back to parents make sure your kids are involved in positive things,” said Burney.

Another big part of the program will be curfew sweeps by Youngstown police.  The sweeps will run from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.

If the curfew law is broken, a parent will be called. If there is no one to pick the child up, they will go to Daybreak Youth Shelter to have a safe place to wait.

Breaking curfew is not a criminal offense, but citations may be issued to parents through the juvenile court.

“They can give them some kind of program to help them,” said Youngstown Police Chief Rod Foley. “I just don’t want to fine the parents and the problem doesn’t get corrected.”

Officials are hoping that by working together with parents, police, and youth organizations, this summer will be safer.

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