Expedite Action To Curb Violence

Steubenville residents seem to be getting little relief from street violence. Another fatal shooting occurred Sunday, when a Newark, N.J., man was gunned down while standing on a Rosswell Avenue porch.

At least the situation involving public housing has improved, in the opinions of some city leaders.

During a visit to Steubenville last week, U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, discussed “significant improvements” in that regard. He noted “a quick and efficient investigation” resulted from a recent shooting at the Heritage Place apartment complex.

That shooting occurred in the complex’s parking lot. A 21-year-old city resident was wounded. Two bystanders, a man and his 5-year-old son were hit by bullets or fragments of them. Police are searching for Tahj Jackson, 23, of Steubenville, in connection with the attack.

Clearly, then, danger still lurks in and around some public housing sites in Steubenville. Local officials agree with Johnson it is not as bad as two years ago.

Then, a spate of violence at public housing in the city prompted local officials to ask for Johnson’s help. He acted quickly and decisively, launching an investigation into the problem.

As a followup, Johnson plans to meet July 1 with city and public housing officials. The congressman has been conducting quarterly reviews of violence at public housing facilities in Jefferson County.

Federal officials in charge of the sites seem to be taking the matter seriously. A letter to Johnson from a Department of Housing and Urban Development official admitted there were “operational deficiencies” at some public housing complexes. That letter informed Johnson the agency plans to hold meetings with Jefferson Metropolitan Housing Authority officials and others to discuss how to address those problems.

Again, the situation seems to have improved. Two things are troubling, however.

First, it should not have required the intervention of a congressman to prod HUD to correct deficiencies it admits exist.

Second, Johnson became involved two years ago. Why has it taken HUD so long to consider the matter?

Steubenville residents are fed up – and some are scared – about violence in the city. HUD officials seem to have taken some action, but should expedite additional changes to improve the situation.