COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Columbus city officials are trying to keep last year’s downward trend in violent crime continuing into the new year.
Officials said the biggest obstacle in completing that mission will be getting through to the city’s teenagers.
Columbus City Councilman Emmanuel Remy said his top three goals this year to put a stop to youth violence are reducing the number of stolen cars, getting people to put their guns down, and cooperation with the entire community.
“We will not stop until we see a dramatic reduction in crime,” Remy said.
Remy said that while he doesn’t consider youth crime in the city a crisis, it is certainly on the rise and city leaders are aware of it.
He said the city is doing all it can, including meeting with the FBI and U.S. Marshall’s office later this week and continuing to fund youth organizations with a focus on intervention and prevention.
“We see the success stories of these organizations when we talk with the kids who have been involved throughout,” Remy said. “You don’t know exactly which one might have taken a different path. But we do know that the programs that we have are having an immediate effect throughout our community.”
However, the councilman said there is still work to be done.
On Wednesday, police said a group of teenagers crashed a car – believed to be stolen — near Morse Road and Cleveland Avenue and ending with one boy in the hospital.
Remy said reducing these car thefts will be a major step in the mission as he said stealing cars is often a gateway to violent crime.
Another goal he has for the new year is getting people to put down their guns and realize shooting a person is not a way to deal with problems. Remy said another major goal is community cooperation, which means getting everyone to work together and reporting something when you see it.
Remy said city leaders are also putting a huge emphasis on prevention and intervention with Columbus families. By this, he means getting youth involved in programs aimed at showing teens a positive path and talking with families to understand how the city can help fill those gaps.
Remy believes Columbus residents will trust community and city leaders to facilitate these changes.
“I believe with this chief (Columbus Division of Police Chief Elaine Bryant) that we have that is so dedicated to our community, who is building relationships every single day has really taken a swing with the division on an upward swing and you see more and more confidence not only with our division of police but with our elected officials,” Remy said.
Remy said another goal is to have youth engagement programs going all year long and not just in the summer months.