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'Ohio Attorney General's Safe Neighborhoods Initiative' to Begin in Lima


(LIMA, Ohio) -- Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced today that he is expanding his "Ohio Attorney General's Safe Neighborhoods Initiative" to the city of Lima.

Attorney General DeWine made the announcement alongside Lima Mayor David Berger, Lima Police Chief Kevin Martin, and Allen County Prosecutor Juergen Waldick this morning.

"Those of us here today have a shared commitment to end violence, and by working together, we hope to retake the streets from those who are carelessly committing repeated crimes," said Attorney General DeWine.  "The goal is to help steer these violent career criminals on a path towards a more productive life, and, in the process, improve the lives of everyone living around them."

"Ohio Attorney General's Safe Neighborhoods Initiative" works by identifying a community's most violent offenders, who are typically a small group of people who are responsible for a bulk of the crime.  Authorities then meet with those offenders to outline the consequences for continued acts of violence, such as lengthy prison terms.   In addition, residents who have lost loved ones to violence explain the turmoil crime causes families, and doctors explain the lifelong injuries that can be sustained due to a gunshot wound.

The offenders are then given the opportunity to take part in job training, alcohol and drug rehabilitation, and other social services to assist them in leaving the cycle of violence.

“On behalf of the city of Lima, I applaud Attorney General Mike DeWine and his colleagues for reaching out to Lima and Allen County and proposing a collaborative effort with local law enforcement and community agencies to target violent criminals in our community," said Mayor Berger.  "The Safe Neighborhoods Initiative is a carrot and stick approach that has proven itself effective in other communities making them safer for everyone.”

The strategies utilized in the initiative have been successful in other programs across the country in producing drastic reductions in gun-related crime.  In Cincinnati, a similar effort led to a 41-percent drop in gang homicides and a 22-percent decrease in other violent firearm incidents.

“We are proud to be a part of this collaboration that not only brings all aspects of law enforcement  together but also brings various other resources into the efforts," said Chief Martin.  "By bringing these other resources into the fight against violent crime, those who are currently caught up in a lifestyle of violence will have an opportunity to begin making better choices.  If they refuse take advantage of the opportunities being presented to them, however, they will have a full understanding of the consequences they will face.”

The Allen County Sheriff's Office, Allen County Common Pleas Court, Allen County Probation Department, Crime Victim Services of Allen and Putnam Counties, Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Allen, Auglaize and Hardin Counties, St. Rita's Medical Center, Coleman Behavioral Health, Bloom Recovery Network, Ohio Adult Parole Authority, U.S. Attorney's Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are also taking part in the initiative.

"Ohio Attorney General's Safe Neighborhoods Initiative" is also currently ongoing in Akron, Warren, and Steubenville, Ohio.

The initiative is part of an overall effort by Attorney General DeWine to combat gun crime involving violent career criminals.  In April, Attorney General DeWine and State Senator Jim Hughes (R-Columbus) announced the Violent Career Criminal Act, which, if signed into law, would increase the length of prison sentences for specific repeat violent offenders.  The act is co-sponsored by Senator Frank LaRose (R-Copley).


Media Contacts:

Dan Tierney: 614-466-3840
Jill Del Greco: 614-466-3840

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