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The Youngstown Police Department conducted a curfew sweep Wednesday night and Thursday morning as part of Mayor Chuck Sammarone’s “Do you know where your children are?” campaign.
One component of the program, which was announced in April, is curfew sweeps that 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.
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.
Under local ordinance, anyone under the age of 18 caught out after 11 p.m. can be fined and police have been stepping up enforcement of the rules during the summer months. Police stopped 16 individuals and issued 10 citations during Thursday morning’s sweep, which the chief said shows the word is getting out.
“So we kinda figured because it was known that we were probably going to be out this week that our numbers would be down a little bit. But that’s a good thing too, that the numbers were down. It shows that people are actually paying attention out there in the community and making sure their kids are home and safe,” said Youngstown Police Chief Rod Foley.
The teens were taken home, where police reminded parents of the city’s curfew laws.
The chief said curfew sweeps are just one of a number of programs being emphasized this summer to crack down on street violence, especially crimes involving guns. But he said the patrols also have led to fewer people on the streets carrying guns.
“So if we can keep staying on these kids, get ’em talking like they’re talking now, ‘hey, listen, the police department’s actually out there looking for ways to search us to make sure that we’re not carrying firearms.’ And if we can keep ’em on their toes like that, hopefully that will prevent any more violence out there,” Foley said. “Intelligence is coming back through our task forces that when they’re interviewing these individuals, they’re not carrying firearms because they know that we’re actually out there searching for that type of stuff. So that’s good. We want to change habits.”
And to change those habits, the chief said that means reaching out to family members at home.
“Because we can only do so much, swe really try to do a lot of extension out there, especially with our CIRV program. Hetting these kids involved in programing, getting the parents involved in programming,” Foley said.
He said the efforts will continue, especially in the neighborhoods that have been prone to violence in the past.
“We have youth that we have unfortunately identified at high risk for violence and these are the areas that we really pay attention to,” Foley said.