COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The Columbus Division of Police’s Safe Streets Program for 2022 is underway. It involves a group of officers spending more time on bikes in the communities they’re working in.
“With the bikes, the officers are able to immerse themselves in the community,” Safe Streets Coordinator Lt. Dan Edelsberg said.
Edelsberg said being on the bikes allows the officers to better connect with community members which he said can in turn help prevent crime. The program runs until July 30, and officers will be out on bikes every day as long as the weather allows.
“They enjoy that dialogue they have in order to get that feedback of what’s going on within the community, so they can clean it up, so they can get the criminal element off the street, so these residents can have a safe neighborhood,” Edelsberg said.
Columbus police recently presented to City Council about various efforts, including the Safe Streets program, to reduce violence in Columbus. They discussed results from last year’s effort and plans for this year’s program.
Police said during the 2021 Safe Streets program, officers seized 70 guns, made 47 felony arrests, attended 159 community meetings and 181 community events.
“It’s split — about 85% of that will be community relations and about 15% enforcement,” Assistant Chief Gregory Bodker said.
2022’s Safe Streets kicked off on Sunday, and Edelsberg said that less than a week into the program, seven guns have been seized and three felony arrests have been made.
“This is where officers are really learning about the community and really learning about what happens within that community so they can take that back and they can tailor this project specifically for that particular community,” he said.