February 7, 2017

Selection of youth crime head to impact Greater Cleveland

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson appointed Duane Deskins as the city’s first Chief of Prevention, Intervention and Opportunity for Youth and Young adults on Jan 3, to try and lower the amount of crime in Cleveland caused by younger people.

Deskins had been a federal prosecutor for more than 30 years. In 2013 he became chief prosecutor in the Cleveland Juvenile Division and director of Crime Prevention for the City. It was in Cleveland that he helped create strategies and data-driven initiatives to help reduce crime.

One of Deskins’ previous accomplishments include trying to cut down on the youth gang violence in Cleveland, which he accomplished by forging closer ties between the Juvenile Court and the Justice Center, where he occasionally worked with individuals that attended Cleveland State University.

Joseph Han, Ph.D., associate vice president of Administration and Operations as well as the executive director of Public Safety at Cleveland State explained how the appointment of Deskins will impact Cleveland State students.

“City leaders are working with the consent decree with hopes to improve interactions at every level of the city government,” Han said.

The consent decree, passed in 2016, governs the police use of force and also includes different reforms and working conditions to help improve the overall safety of Cleveland.

“In 2016, voters passed a tax levy to improve Cleveland”, he said, adding that this position will support Cleveland’s youth who need opportunities and resources to ensure their safety.

“A better served community will lead to safer community.” Han said “A safer Cleveland will have a positive impact on safety for Cleveland State students.”

Cleveland State Police Chief Gary D. Lewis said that the appointment of Deskins will have more of an impact on the city of Cleveland as a whole.

“This is an excellent resource for the citizens of Cleveland.” Lewis said. “The initiative is one more tool in our effort to combat crime, in particular, violent crime that results in death.” Han said. “This will be accomplished through prevention, intervention, opportunity and enforcement. This citywide initiative will be supported by several departments and with external partners.”

The initiative Lewis mentioned is the Future of Public Safety Initiative, which is a detailed set of plans with the goal of making the city of Cleveland a better place. “We can provide a high level response from Cleveland State University, but based upon the information researched, the focus is more on city residents and violent crime.” Lewis noted. “But rest assured, Cleveland State students will benefit from it.”


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