Youngstown sees less crime in 2012

YOUNGSTOWN – Police Chief Rod Foley says numbers from 2012 are showing that overall crime is trending down in the city.

With statistics from the first 11 months of 2012 in, the city recorded 4,042 calls for crimes, down from 4,349 crimes in the first 11 months of 2011, a projected decrease for the whole year of 7 percent, Foley said.

Statistics for December are expected to be released later this month, Foley said.

Property crimes in the city are down 9 percent from 2011, while violent crime is up between 5 and 6 percent, Foley said. In 2012, Youngstown recorded 26 homicides, up from 23 in 2011.

Violent crimes are categorized as murders, rapes and robberies. Property crimes are burglaries, thefts, motor vehicle thefts and arsons.

One of the reasons burglaries have decreased is because the department was able to arrest some habitual burglars in 2012, Foley said.

”A habitual burglar can do 10 to 15 burglaries a week,” Foley said.

This year, Foley wants to run more focused patrols in areas where crimes are known to happen. He said he will hold bi-weekly meetings with all division commanders and try to focus more on the spots where crime is occurring instead of randomly patrolling.

He said crime data also shows where the city’s crime hot spots are, especially violent crime, and those spots are often associated with the city’s gangs, Foley said.

A recent sampling shows of 18 gunfire calls from Dec. 17 to 23, 17 were between South and Glenwood avenues on the South Side and 13 of those were between South Avenue and Market Street, also on the South Side. That is also an area of the city that has several gangs and takes about 50 percent of the department’s resources, Foley said.

The department began last year a strategy of targeting known violent criminals and gangs and that they want to expand that this year as well with their Community Initiative To Reduce Violence, or CIRV, program to talk to young people in those areas and show them the affects of a violent lifestyle and also offer them education and employment opportunities.

”A lot of these individuals think there’s no way out and this is their lot in life,” Foley said.

Foley said a lot of the crime data he and his staff look at will also be posted on the department’s website, so citizens can be aware and also be able to help police out.