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Is the West Side still the best side?
May 10, 2008 - Joe Gorman
It wasn't hard to get the not so subtle dig earlier this week at the Youngstown Police Department awards luncheon about which side of town is starting to get busy:
The West Side.
The South Sdie gets the headlines, as does the East Side, and the North Side has the Weed & Seed, yet the West Side can no longer skate on its pristine reputation.
At the luncheon, several officers who were given awards were lauded for actions they took on the West Side where they broke up at least two burglary rings.
Those who work the beat will tell you that while the West Side is not privy to the acts of violence that strike the other parts of the city, they do get a lot of volume in terms of burglaries and drug cases.
When I was a kid and lived two blocks from Meridan Road, we were always told the area below Belle Vista was bad and that we should always be careful there.
But lately, that area is expanding west, past Belle Vista and up Mahoning Avenue towards Meridan Road. It was no surprise last year that when the city launched its first round of saturation patrols in conjunction with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Mahoning Avenue was one of the major roads they concentrated on -- and if my memory serves, there was at least one arrest there where a large amount of drugs were confiscated.
Chaney was always rumored as being a big source of drugs -- people made fun of it constantly, calling it a ``teenage wasteland' -- yet the last decade has seen an influx of harder drugs and non-West Siders creating trouble there now.
Some cops shake their heads at what they perceive to be the last bastion of the city slowly eroding away, like other neighborhoods. Can it ever be back to what it was?
I don't think anyone knows the answer to that.
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