Youngstown residents gather to discuss solutions to recent string of violence

Local News

It’s been eight days since a violent shooting death on Youngstown’s south side left three people dead, including a 3-month-old child.

The city has seen a string of violent crime within the last month and now, members of the community are trying to find solutions.

“Once you pull that trigger, it is too late to take it back. It is forever,” said Victoria Allen, Youngstown Crimestoppers.

A small but passionate crowd met at St. Dominic Church Thursday evening to discuss how to combat violence in Youngstown.

Along the walls, neighbors wrote the names of loved ones they’ve lost.

“We need to have an adult conversation about how we can prevent future tragedies,” Allen said.

“We need to take kids under our wing. We need to show them that somebody cares about them,” said Penny Wells, a retired Youngstown teacher.

In attendance were family members of 19-year-old Valarcia Blair, one of the victim’s of last weeks triple homicide.

The family did not want to speak on camera, but did say they’re grateful for the support they’ve received.

At one point during the talks, a prayer was said for the family. Several in attendance got up and joined the family in a moment of silence.

Youngstown has had 20 homicides so far this year, eight of them in the last month.

Police Chief Robin Lees says they do not believe the crimes are connected.

However, he does say the weather can play a factor.

“Generally, our crime will fall off during the cold months. This is not the first time we’ve had a fall where there is a spike in the violence,” Lees said.

Everyone there spent nearly an hour coming up with a solution.

They encouraged people to join their neighborhood block watch and to come forward with information.

The most discussed issue, though, was finding ways for young people to stay involved in the community.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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