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Half-year statistics on pace for a record year

There was little question that 2021 would be a busy year for Columbiana County’s justice system.

COVID-19 slowed down criminal activity and court closures kicked cases down the road into the new year. But what we are seeing now is something of a remarkable trend in activity. As discussed last quarter in my piece on personnel changeover, this upward trend certainly has something to do with new leaders at all levels of our justice system, however I did not realize the true impact until analyzing our half year numbers.

Through June 25, 2021, my office has assisted in warrants and prosecutions in over 360 felony cases. Now, without context, that may or may not seem like a lot, but when you balance this figure against the high mark of just over 500 for the busiest full year on record, you begin to realize that the pace of activity for Columbiana County’s criminal justice system is operating at a very high level. Warrants alone are at over 100 as of June 25th. For perspective, 2019 saw only 83.

Looking at the personnel from my office alone, I can tell you we are very busy. There was a time last month when we were assisting on multiple warrant matters, had two trials going, and had full dockets buzzing at Juvenile Court and our three Municipal Courts. My staff and I hit the ground running in January in a big way, and things do not look to slow down anytime soon.

Outside of active case prosecutions, we have also piloted new social media accounts and a website, a school outreach initiative which will kick off in the fall and have applied for several grants that will help expand manpower for future projects.

With that all said, be patient with us. What I have asked of the staff is different than what they were used to. I am pleased that they have energetically agreed to try and accomplish the goals I have set for the office and while the above activity (year-to-date) is commendable, it is only the beginning of what I have planned over the remainder of my first term. Expect new initiatives in cold case investigations, juvenile truancy, and township outreach.

These are all under current development, but subject to the immense amount of work and case activity which, at this point, looks to be the busiest year ever for Columbiana County’s justice system.

— Vito J. Abruzzino, Columbiana County Prosecutor

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