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Youngstown residents ‘barely can grieve’ due to 2021’s increasing shooting count

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Local activists and a Youngstown mother are concerned about the violence in the city as police investigate another deadly shooting on the south side.

“The violence is real bad and I wish someone would do something about it,” said resident Jerwanda Atkins.

Monday night’s shooting death in front of Savo Bar and Grille on South Avenue is already the 15th this year.

The first homicide of 2021 took place on January 1. Since then, the numbers have increased — 55 shootings with 15 deaths.

“Someone just got killed last night. I was just there up at the bar grabbing two sodas and I hear someone got killed,” Atkins said.

Memorials can be found around the city in the places where people’s friends and family members lost their lives.

“They barely can grieve because it’s happening back-to-back, back-to-back,” Atkins said. “There’s no answer to why no one’s stepping up. I think we all deserve an answer.”

Many of those families are still looking for answers while others fear for their own kids.

“Being woke up out my sleep for gunshots, hearing them and then having to go check up on my children just to make sure no bullets came through the house to hit them,” Atkins said.

If the crime continues at this rate, we are on track to meet, if not surpass last year’s totals, when there were 98 shootings with 28 homicides.

It’s a number no one wants to see, but local activists say ending the violence must include the entire community.

“When you see something, you have to say something. I know it takes courage, I know it takes people stepping up but we have to do this together,” said Guy Burney, executive director of CIRV.

Campaigns are all over the city — billboards saying “cease fire, nobody’s winning” and yard signs reading “Taft and Wilson Elementary Schools want you to stop the violence.”

“Like the signs says, nobody’s winning. One’s going to the cemetery, one’s going to prison or the hospital,” said Darrell Jones, president of Youngstown United As One.

On Wednesday, a prayer walk will be held for the city. But the question is, do these efforts work?

“Yes, they work but we want to make sure that we do it in a sustainable, continual way so that they have effect,” Burney said.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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