COLUMBUS (WCMH) – With the city on pace to have its most homicides in one year, Columbus police are hoping more people become part of the solution.

The department wants young people to get involved with a safety mentorship and safety program.

Dozens of young people potentially interested in a law enforcement career spent some time at the police academy Monday.

Some of them were high school students who said part of the reason they attended the open house was due to all the violence in the city.

The city recorded its 175th homicide of the year — tying last year’s record total — with a fatal shooting Monday at a Target store near Easton.

Kaidyn Lucas and Taylor Edmonds said they’ve had enough of the violence in Columbus.

“Crime has gone up a lot and it’s not safe,” Edmonds said. “Columbus is becoming kind of like a Chicago in a sense.”

Edmonds is 18 years old. Lucas is a high school junior. The Columbus they’re living their teen years in is not the one they want to see down the road.

“It scares me because that’s the world we’ll all be growing up in and we are growing up in now,” Lucas said.

That’s part of the reason why they’re both considering joining the Columbus Public Safety Corps, a training and mentorship program giving those between the ages of 14 and 20 the chance to learn about what it’s like to be a police officer.

Edmonds said he has wanted to be a police officer since he was a little kid, saying it is his way of being part of the solution.

“I feel like I could make some type of difference in the future and this is one way of helping me learn to get to that point in life,” he said.

On Monday, the safety corps held its first open house since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, hoping to encourage more young people to join. Edmonds and Lucas watched closely as the program was explained and later talked with corps leaders.

“I recently just lost a friend,” Lucas said. “That was really hard and I never would go through anything like that. I’ve seen other people go through it and the violence and I’m like, ‘That’s crazy,’ but now that it’s affected me, I’m like, ‘OK, now I need to put a stop to that.’”

The public safety corps meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, click here.