COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Some Short North residents said they’ve seen an increase in crime in the neighborhood recently and want police to get involved.
Now, Columbus Police are about to start a new program in that neighborhood, saying it will involve officers working overtime, dedicated to the Short North at certain times of the week. Police tested the program and hope to do more this weekend.
Depending on who you talk to in the Short North, some are extremely concerned with crime in the neighborhood.
“In addition to the shooting, there have been armed robberies that are not just along High Street,” said Bobby Thaxton, president of the Short North Civic Association.
Others said they feel completely safe.
“Coming from Chicago, it’s somewhat relative, but I think we’re enjoying being here and never once felt like we were at risk in any way, shape, or form,” said Short North resident Bryan Hoppe.
Various neighborhood groups, city leaders, and police held a virtual meeting Wednesday to discuss crime in the Short North. Columbus Police Deputy Chief Jennifer Knight said after the last meeting, they wanted to try to find solutions. On Tuesday, she told residents about the new Short North Interdiction Project.
“Obviously police resources are at a premium and we have the city to cover, but we really felt like there needed to be something to fill those gaps in the Short North area,” Knight said.
She said the project will be a special team consisting of a couple of sergeants and six officers working overtime exclusively in the Short North.
Because it will be over time, Knight said funding for the program will come from the Short North Alliance. She also said some calls in the area that aren’t usually responded to as quickly will get a faster response from the team.
“This group of officers dedicated to this area would be able to respond almost immediately to those things,” Knight said.
Vinnie Rivera has lived in the neighborhood for 30 years. He said he’s noticed an increase in crime, too, and thinks it stems from an uptick citywide.
“I’m aware of it,” he said. “I don’t believe it’s terrible. I think it’s trending not in the right direction, but I’m hopeful it’s going to abate eventually.”
According to Knight, the interdiction project was tested on a smaller scale last weekend and plans to add to it this weekend. The program will run for eight weeks with the possibility it could be extended.
While hours for the project are flexible, Knight added it would likely be from 11 p.m. until 4 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, with hours possibly being added on Thursdays and Sundays.