Working together to battle crime

Working together works.

That phrase has been applied to everything from football teams to heavy industry to office workers, and it works in law enforcement, too.

That’s evident from the work done Tuesday evening, when a Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy as backup helped Steubenville police officers apprehend two men on weapons possession charges.

A Steubenville officer had approached a group of men walking down the middle of the street and said he was going to issue citations for failure to use the sidewalk. That, by the way, is how to clean up an area of crime. Call it harassment, call it law enforcement, the result is that criminals eventually move on. It’s worked in other parts of the city and it can work in the hilltop neighborhoods.

The Steubenville officer was assisted by a deputy working as backup on the call and the deputy spotted a gun in the pocket of one of the men.

There are plenty of local law enforcement resources when they’re pooled together, though any one agency in these cash-strapped times may be a little short alone.

Because Steubenville’s crime problem is in a heavy cycle now, the concentration of working together by agencies including the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department and the Steubenville Police Department is needed, welcomed and appreciated.

And, regional cooperation has the attention of U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld.

He told the Wheeling Rotary Club Tuesday that his office plans to work with agencies in Ohio, especially in Jefferson and Belmont counties.

Crime, after all, is a regional issue, and drug traffic crosses international borders, let alone state lines. Ihlenfeld’s remarks indicated a recognition that crime problems in Ohio spill over and become crime problems for his district in West Virginia. That approach also had worked in the past by the feds.

The dealers and the traffickers and the thugs don’t operate alone and in a vacuum.

We welcome increased cooperation and pooling of resources to push back against crime and criminals in our area.