Mayor Andrew Ginther announced that the city of Columbus is seeing a reduction in violent crime, giving credit to an expanded Columbus Police initiative.
The city launched its annual Safe Streets program in Linden in 2017. Under the program, Columbus Police uses uniformed bike patrol officers in the warmer months of the year to increase casual contact between the police and the community.
At a press conference Tuesday at Barack Community Center, Ginther announced that the program's expansion into the Hilltop and South Side has proven successful.
“The results speak for themselves,” Ginther said. “During the Safe Streets program, we saw 28% reduction of violent crime in Linden, 18% on the Hilltop, and 16% on the South Side.”
He says efforts like Safe Streets help the city gather intelligence on other factors in the city that could be leading to crime.
“Are there street lights that are out? Are there alleyways that are filled with trash?” Ginther offered as examples. “Are there other elements in a community or neighborhood that, if we address them or took care of them, we might be able to reduce crime in the future?”
The city started a “Center Without Walls” in Wedgewood after a spike of violent crime and homicides in 2017. It plans to bring that same program to Liberty Elementary School in Southeast Columbus in the coming year.
“Because there really aren’t a whole lot of great after-school and summer resources for kids within walking distance out in that part of town,” Ginther said.
The city will also launch an intervention effort to study people's social networks. That initiative is inspired by a 2017 study conducted in Chicago that found social networks to be a key predictor in whether a person will become a victim of gun homicide.