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January 16, 2008 - Joe Gorman
With a few minutes to kill before my City Council meeting, I thought I would ``check in' as they say on the streets.
Just typed in a short story on a robbery on the lower West Side at Cherol's Market on Salt Springs Road Tuesday and was reminded that this isn't the first time this has happened there.
When I was a kid we were always told that the area below Belle Vista and near Salt Springs Road was ``bad' and if that was the case or not, I've always had a tendancy to view it that way. But it now it seems from reading the police reports that crime on the West Side, which was not a serious problem when I was growing up, is beginning to creep up.
There is no violence -- indeed, during the mid-90s when the city was breaking homicide records I don't think there was a killing on the West Side, at least one that I can remember -- but from reading the reports for the last year, there are more burglaries, robberies and breaking and entering cases.
I think the reason is the lack of stability in the neighborhoods. I've noticed since I was away for a few years and came back in 1999 that a lot of people have left -- even my parents left -- and the neighborhoods have suffered because of it. I mentioned my old house on Dunlap yesterday being vacant for two years -- but I have noticed more and more vacant houses and for sale signs on streets where that would have been unthinkable 10 or 15 years ago.
I hate to see it happen, and I wish I knew how to solve it. We have a similar situation in the neighborhood I live in in Warren now; when we moved in, there were some cops and firefighters on our street and some older, stable families. But they have moved and in the last three years, no one has replaced them. There are two vacant houses behind mine, two directly across the street from me and two more down the street. Already, one has been spray painted and another had the copper piping stolen out of it.
The drugs are a factor too, on the West Side, because most of these crimes are being committed to get money for drugs, and it was no coincidence last year that when the OSP helped the YPD during the saturation patrols, one of the areas they concentrated on was that lower Mahoning Avenue corridor.
I wonder what it was like before I was born. I see the four Orthodox churches all within a square mile or two of each other, and wonder where those people have gone. I know a lot of people I went to high school with that lived in that area are Holy Name grads, but everyone I've talked to says their families gave up on the West Side a long time ago.
But as they say, you can take the boy out of the West Side but you can't take the West Side out of the boy ...
-- Yesterday, I mentioned that Mafia book I got at the McKinley Library and the four entries who were from Youngstown that I had never heard of. I ran the names by my Old Man last night and he knew every one by Carlego Vizzinni (I'm not sure if I spelled the first name right because I don't have the book with me). If it proves one thing, at least my dad knows his mobsters. I told him that but he said that wasn't a big deal. ``They were in the paper everyday,' he said on the phone over the keening of my 5-year-old son.
-- I noticed on my post yesterday the tech guys fixed the text and spaced out the paragraphs. Before the repair, it looked like some stream of consciouncess (again, spelling -- I need a portable dictionary) diatribe straight out of James Joyce or something one of the Beats would have done.
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