Austintown, Weathersfield and other area police departments should prepare for the crime spike Columbus and Franklin counties are experiencing near a new casino there.
During the first six weeks that the Hollywood Casino Columbus opened, crime in a 20-square-mile area increased. The Franklin County Sheriff's Office took 206 reports, including 126 assaults. Last year, during the same 44 days, the office took 162 reports, including 43 assaults.
Penn National Gaming plans to move a horse racetrack from Toledo to Austintown, near the intersection of state Routes 80 and 46. The racino will include 1,500 video lottery terminals. The company hopes the Hollywood Slots at Mahoning Valley Race Course will be open by 2014.
The 1,000 temporary construction jobs and 1,000 or so permanent jobs will be an important gain for Mahoning and Trumbull counties. But law enforcement better be ready to pay at least a small price for the gain.