YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The new year has started with some increased enforcement for quality-of-life issues in the City of Youngstown.
The Youngstown Police Department’s Community Policing Unit has been issuing warnings for complaints such as barking dogs, loud music, accumulation of garbage and the storage of junk. Now, the unit will begin issuing citations to offenders of the city’s new quality-of-life-ordinance, which can include up to 20 violations.
Citations will range from $25 to $100, depending on how many times a person has been cited.
Youngstown Police Detective Sgt. Pat Kelly said the enforcement of these issues has a wider impact.
“I think the quality-of-life issues take care of the bigger picture, because if you have a street that’s very nice and you have a house that’s just litter and trash, we start hitting it with tickets,” Kelly said. “It brings up the quality of life and makes the street a little bit better.”
Kelly was part of Youngstown’s first Community Policing Unit in the late 1990s as a patrolman. Now, he directs the unit, which resumed in July and covers the city’s seven wards.
The bulk of time spent in the Community Policing Unit is being out in the neighborhood, learning about residents’ and business owners’ concerns. The goal is to learn about those concerns and then help solve community problems before they get out of hand.
Kelly said, during his time as a patrolman in the Community Policing Unit, crime was rampant, but it differed from the crime of today.
“The 90s were bad, but you’re dealing with different type of crime. Personally, I think juvenile crime is bad now,” he said.
Kelly said the idea is to get people to follow the law, so criminal activity doesn’t resonate through the city.
The Community Policing Unit has been extremely successful in doing sweeps of neighborhoods, and it also works with other police department units like Vice, Parole and Housing.
“I’d like to get more people when we do our sweeps, because I thought that was good. If there’s a particular problem in that area, we’re going to hit it from a bunch of people,” Kelly said.