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He Said It
June 14, 2011 - Joe Gorman
If this was sports, Mayor Jay Williams' guarantee Tuesday that the city would see a record decline in its murder rate this year at a press conference announcing the return of the VGRIP program would be on a bulletin board in a lockerroom somewhere.
Indeed, I can almost picture some of the city's toughest thugs nailing it to the wall of their bedroom or taping it to the dashboard of their car. The mayor was either bold and making a public proclamation of his belief Tuesday in front of St. Dominics Church on the South Side or he is extremely foolhardy and has his head in the sand because he has no idea what is going in the city.
I think it's the former, although I would have not gone out and made such a statement in public. Then again, that's why Williams is the mayor and I merely write about him. Although I will say I do not think he had a grasp on the city's chronic crime problem when he first took office, and it took a quadruple homicide in 2007 and his ordering saturation patrols to really grab his attention.
Yet, there are reasons to be optimistic. The year is halfway gone and the city has recorded five murders. If the trend continues, we could be talking under 15, even possibly under 10.
That makes for a lot of nervous people at police headquarters on Boardman Street. Whenever I mention the low rate, I get a dirty look -- talking about it is forbidden, almost like acknowledging it will jinx it, so I even keep the talk down to a bare mimimum.
Is the mayor afraid of having to eat his words? It would take a bloodletting of almost Biblical proportions -- 15 murders in six months -- to reach last year's rate, so odds are he's on the safe side of making such a guarantee. But who knows? Anything is possible in Youngstown? But I, for one, hope this is a guarantee that comes true.
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