Steubenville is not the only community in the United States where crime based in public housing complexes is a problem. But because virtually everyone involved - except the criminals - is upset, a congressman has intervened.
U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, was asked by constituents, including some public officials, to look into violence at public housing facilities in Steubenville. He has written to U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, asking for a HUD probe of the problem.
In addition, Johnson's letter points out concerns voiced by officials of the Jefferson Metropolitan Housing Authority, which manages HUD complexes. Authority officials have complained HUD rules make it difficult for them to keep criminals out of public housing - and limit use of money for security purposes.
Johnson should insist on more than a boiler-plate response to his inquiry. HUD officials should investigate the situation in Steubenville and address whether the agency's rules provide more safeguards to criminals than law-abiding citizens.
Again, however, Steubenville is not the only public housing trouble spot. Even if HUD steps forward to resolve problems there, Johnson should consider asking fellow lawmakers to launch a more wide-ranging inquiry into whether some criminals are subsidized by taxpayers.