COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Columbus City Council approved $500,000 to make the city’s downtown business districts safer, including the Short North, which has seen back-to-back violent weekends.
At its meeting Monday, the council unanimously approved the funding as part of the Business District Safety Enhancement Program.
According to the ordinance, the city will transfer the money to the Department of Public Safety, which will work with Columbus police, the Short North Alliance, and Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District “to develop plans to appropriately deter crime and improve safety in Columbus’ business districts.” The Short North Alliance and the Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District will receive $250,000 each.
“Both organizations work closely with the business owners, others throughout that area to make sure everybody feels safe being in that community and so they will use it for extra duty special patrols, to raise awareness for people in the area to enjoy themselves,” said Columbus City Councilmember Emmanuel Remy.
Since 2022, the city has funded the program, which it said has resulted in a significant reduction in crime.
“This is a continued investment by Columbus City Council to the Short North Alliance and the downtown SID to ensure that they are able to do effective safety programming,” Remy said.
Monday’s vote to fund the program for this year comes after two violent weekends in the Short North district. On May 6, at least 10 people were shot in two incidents in the Short North, with police exchanging gunfire with some of the suspects. Then, eight days later, a 21-year-old man was killed Sunday after an argument led to a shooting, according to police.
“There is a need for a continuation of this funding from the City of Columbus to supplement safety enhancements in business districts throughout the City of Columbus,” the ordinance states.
The money will be used to hire special duty officers and community outreach workers and fund educational campaigns.
Remy is optimistic the money will help keep these high-density areas safe.
“It’s going to continue to be a challenge when we do late-night activity, but I feel comfortable going down there during the day, in the evenings, and we want everyone to feel the same way,” he said.
Remy said city council intends to continue investing in programs like these to make the community safer.