COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — After years of criminal activity at the Wedgewood Village Apartments, including three shootings in the last two weeks, there are new plans to stop the violence.
Attorney for the City of Columbus, Zach Klein, is proposing changes for the apartment owners, or face consequences. Klein said the violence at Wedgewood will come to an end one way or another. He said this proposal is step one. To be successful, he said they need help from law enforcement and the community.
“Wedgewood is a place of serious concern for us in the city attorney’s office,” Klein said.
Wedgewood Village Apartments are on the Westside of Columbus, right next to an elementary school. In the last two weeks there have been three separate shootings, one killed a 13-year-old boy.
In the last two years, there have been dozens of shootings at the complex according to NBC4 archives — at least 4 fatal. Klein said he’s sent a proposal to the apartment owners with changes they should make to end crime.
“That was developed in conjunction with the division of police and involves more cameras, more lighting, a special duty patrol that’s dedicated directly to Wedgewood, fencing to limit ingress and egress,” said Klein. “These are things that are tactically important for the safety and security.”
So far, the owners have been responsive, said Klein. But if that changes, he is not afraid to use litigation. That would involve taking the Wedgewood apartment owners to court and filing a nuisance abatement action against them for violence and violation of city and state code.
Klein said these changes are necessary for the wellbeing and safety of families in the area.
“Especially for the children at Wedgewood which you noted they live right next to a school and giving them the opportunity to be the children that they want to be,” he said.
Klein said that includes investment into the youth, which Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said is a top priority.
“As I contemplate proposing our budget for next year we really have to continue to invest in prevention, intervention and enforcement,” Ginther said. “A comprehensive approach where parks and rec, health, safety, police and fire are all working hand in hand.”
Klien also stressed the importance of investing in these groups. He said it is a vital part in stopping the violence.
“We have to continue to invest in community groups like MYProject USA. They have done a great job infiltrating themselves and gaining the respect of the families within the Wedgewood community,” Klein said.
He said the investments should be made in the areas of social services and support for children.