The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

April 30, 2014

AG’s Safe Neighborhoods Initiative to begin in city

ASHTABULA —

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s Safe Neighborhoods Initiative, which helps communities address violence caused by repeat offenders, is coming to Ashtabula. 
The initiative is successfully under way in four other cities.
City Solicitor Michael Franklin, Ashtabula County Prosecutor Nicholas Iarocci, Ashtabula Police Chief Robert Stell and City Manager Jim Timonere made the announcement in a joint statement. 
“After learning earlier this year of a home invasion that led to the death of a mother and son, we reached out to city leaders to offer our help in protecting families in this community,” DeWine said. “Right now we are working to identify Ashtabula's most violent offenders, and we'll later meet with those individuals to give them the opportunity to walk away from the culture of crime and to outline the very serious consequences they'll face if they decide instead to commit another violent act.”
Timonere said he is grateful to have the program.
“I cannot thank Police Chief Stell and Attorney General DeWine enough for bringing this program to our city,” he said. “The Chief and I had the opportunity to see this performed in Warren, and it was extremely powerful. We are anxious to get started and hope for positive results.” 
Stell said he is looking forward to this program coming to the City of Ashtabula and building lasting partnerships with local churches, organizations and community leaders.
The recent spike in drug-related violence in Ashtabula did not happen overnight, Iarocci said. 
“Ashtabula has become a nesting place for seriously-violent drug offenders over the past few years, so we must think ‘outside of the box’ to attempt to get control of a very volatile situation,” he said. “This initiative is a direct result of that type of forward-thinking by community leaders.”
Between 2012 and 2013, Municipal Court experienced a 10 percent increase in felony cases. That translates to about 45 additional serious crimes, or almost one per week, Franklin said. 

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