Crime Reports: Youngstown has highest arson rate in the nation

In Youngstown, arsons have skyrocketed 650 percent in the last three years

Boardman Crime Generic


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The FBI Uniform Crime Report is out, and across the nation, violent crime is on the rise. The Mahoning Valley is seeing that same trend.

Every year, the FBI collects data from police departments all across the country. Then, that information is published online.

It includes a look at trends in homicides, violent crime and other categories.

Boardman, Warren and Youngstown all saw increases in violent crime, especially reported assaults. Property crime, like burglary and theft from cars, has also increased.

In Youngstown, arsons have skyrocketed 650 percent in the last three years. The FBI recorded 28 arsons in the city in 2013.

Those who live on the city’s south side say they’re used to fires.

“When I hear the ambulance, I say, ‘Oh, somebody went and burned up a house.’ It don’t surprise me none,” said Cheryl Boudrey.

Boudrey and Joe Render live in the middle of one of the neighborhoods in the city that has been hardest hit by firebugs. Many of these fires are set at vacant houses.

In 2015, Youngstown firefighters went out to almost 200 fires that were caused by arson. Sometimes, these fires have been linked to other crimes as well.

Render says those fires make them worry for their own homes.

“Somebody come along and set the house on fire. Well, you might have two good houses right alongside it,” he said. “Once these houses go up, these houses are old — way back in the early 1900s. They’ll go up just like kindling.”

“I’m scared, real scared,” said Boudrey. “Because you don’t know if it’s going to be your house. Lot of times, you leave, you don’t know if it’s going to be your house gonna get burned while you’re gone away.”

The city of Youngstown has the highest rate of arsons anywhere in the country, per capita, according to Youngstown Fire Chief John O’Neill. The data shows that most arsons are concentrated on the city’s south side.

Each arson is investigated, but arrests aren’t all that common.

“It’s one of the most difficult crimes to solve. The biggest challenge we have is nobody is willing, often times, to come forward with information of something that they see,” said Kurt Wright, of the Youngstown Fire Department.

Local crime statistics, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report:
Click here to expand

2015 FBI Uniform Crime Report2014 FBI Uniform Crime Report2013 FBI Uniform Crime ReportA community-based crime map is also available online.

Tune into WKBN 27 First News at 5:30 and 6 p.m. tonight for an in-depth look at where the crime hot spots are all across the area, or check back here for more information.

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