As Steubenville Mayor Domenick Mucci pointed out Tuesday night, city officials are taking extraordinary steps to deal with a wave of violence. But for city police to have any chance of ending what in some ways is a real reign of terror, they will need the public's help.
During their meeting Tuesday, City Council members heard from another group of citizens upset about shootings on Steubenville streets. It was the same distressing, infuriating story Mucci and other officials have heard before, of a neighborhood where, because of gunfire, some residents are afraid for themselves and their children.
In addressing the contingent, Mucci told them, "When you arrived here tonight, this council was in an executive session with the police chief, talking about putting a plan in place on how we can improve coverage of the city." He added the plan "will take a concerted effort of all citizens."
He's right. When violent thugs see police officers and/or cruisers, they hide their weapons - often only to draw them and open fire once the threat of arrest is past. As we have pointed out many times, law enforcement agencies need help from the public in the form of tips and information when violence occurs.
It may help in Steubenville if law-abiding residents know precisely how they can help police most effectively. For example, keeping one's eyes open for details such as license plate numbers - and having pen and paper available to write them down - can be important. Perhaps a series of workshops at which the public can receive training in how to assist police would be beneficial in cracking down on crime.