High Five

Media Relations Team

Robin Davis
Director of Media Relations
614.645.2425
rcdavis@columbus.gov

Melanie Crabill
Communications Manager
614.645.5300
mjcrabill@columbus.gov

News Releases

July 16, 2018

On one of those particularly hot nights earlier this month, a Columbus police officer was answering a run in the parking lot of a business in the Hilltop.  He noticed a car at the end of the lot with its hazard lights on, so he approached it.

A woman driving the car had run out of gas. She was at the center to pick up a friend so they could get to their jobs at a local fast food place. Now they were stuck – no gas, no way to get to their jobs.

The officer drove them to a nearby station where they put $3 worth of gas in a gas can, then back to their car. They were able to make it to their shifts and keep moving forward in trying to turn their lives around.

I know the story because I happened to be doing a ride along that night, seeing first-hand what our officers see every night. Personal interaction with residents is a big part of it, even when it doesn’t involve policing per se.

One of my top priorities since taking office has been to make our neighborhoods safer – the same priority shared by the outstanding public servants who wear the police uniform. 

In November, I announced the Comprehensive Neighborhood Safety Strategy. We have been implementing its initiatives ever since. We have a long way to go, but we are moving the needle in a positive direction. 

We have expanded the Safe Street bike patrol to the Hilltop, Linden and South Side. These police officers have made hundreds of connections with residents – something they say is easier to do on a bike than from a patrol car. Because of that community interaction, Safe Streets officers have received hundreds of tips from residents and made great strides in arrests, drug confiscation and removing guns from the street.

Gun violence continues to be one of the major challenges in keeping our neighbors safe. More than half of all homicides are committed with firearms and hundreds more people are injured through gun violence. To further address this unacceptable violence, we are entering into an agreement with ShotSpotter for a neighborhood gunfire detection system.

We are engaging ShotSpotter for a gunfire detection system as a demonstration program in the Hilltop, Linden and the South Side. Agencies that have adopted ShotSpotter Technology as part of a comprehensive crime-reduction strategy have reported reductions in urban gunfire by up to 80 percent and related violent crime by as much as 40 percent. This will help our law enforcement respond to incidents of gunfire, speed aid to victims, assist in investigations and the collection of evidence, and ultimately, the apprehension of dangerous offenders.

Some of the initiatives of the safety strategy involve more of our city departments than just Public Safety. Our Department of Neighborhoods has been hard at work coordinating our first investments into our target neighborhoods. In conjunction with our Safe Routes to School program, they have identified areas for additional sidewalk investments.  In addition, they have identified streets for additional lighting and tree canopy reduction . . . because one of the first steps in providing a safer neighborhood is bringing it out of the shadows.

And the Recreation and Parks Department are rock stars, providing safe places for our youth as well as job training and job opportunities. This year alone, nearly 75% of Recreation and Parks part-time and seasonal hires includes young people, ages 15-24. More than 100 of those youth are part of the APPS job readiness program which provides training, mentorship and job placement. In addition, Recreation and Parks hosts Cap City Nights Festivals throughout Columbus, including the next one in Wedgewood on August 4.

The goal of the Comprehensive Neighborhood Safety Strategy has always been to keep our communities safe -- and involved. I am thankful for the cooperation and help from all of our departments, law enforcement officers and community members in making Columbus a safe, wonderful place to live.