To the editor:
During Prohibition and for some years after, Steubenville was known as "Little Chicago." It appears both are back, minus the fun parts.
What we need are not platitudes about the underlying causes of the present problem (see the "Moynihan Report" done during LBJ's presidency, and add drugs), but a surge of force to quell the brazen actions of local and out-of-town punks.
Here are suggestions that many legal beagles will dismiss:
Declare a state of emergency and use the National Guard military police units to help stabilize the situation. While many will say this will give us another national black eye, it is not as bad as the fear, the deaths, the worthless property values and the still geographically small areas that are almost unlivable.
Hire retired police officers for part-time staffing. Perhaps many would volunteer.
Create a reserve force, well trained, to take care of non-emergency problems.
Put an emergency levy on the ballot for the police department. While my gut says at least 10 more officers are needed, this will never happen. But hire as many as the levy would support.
A K-9 unit is needed with at least two dogs. Smaller towns have them, and I believe this would increase officer safety and cut down on runners.
Have the guts to enact a "stop and frisk" law. If a person is carrying without a permit, it's five years mandatory. Other cities have this.
Dead-end and close some streets to cut down on the criminals' egress. Possibly make some troubled areas, gated communities - one way in and one way out.
When I emotionally fantasize on how previous generations would have handled this problem, I think of George "Runt" Mavromatis, an Iwo Jima Marine, a police officer and chief, and other members on the force of that generation. While some of their tactics are verboten today, I sincerely believe the criminal element would feel fear that is now lacking.