COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The Short North Civic Association wants people to see the Columbus neighborhood as vibrant, not violent, after an explosion of gunfire last weekend.
Since then, community leaders have been thinking about the events that unfolded, brainstorming ways to prevent it from happening again.
“I was in distress, of course, first for the people who were injured, but also for the hit that our reputation as a neighborhood is taking because of events like that,” Short North Civic Association President Jack Decker said.
North High Street looked like it should on a Saturday afternoon – filled with people enjoying businesses and the scenery. Neighborhood leaders said it is the late night hours when things become dicey.
Decker, who has lived in the area for decades, said he’s watched the Short North evolve and what he saw last Saturday was out of character.
“The neighborhood is safe,” he said. “We’ve seen a lot of improvements statistically over the past several years. It’s pretty much been steady until the recent flare-up of gunplay along High Street at closing time.”
In the early morning hours of May 6, multiple Columbus police officers responded to a shooting on the 600 block of North High Street when an “explosion of gunfire” rang out on the 800 block of North High Street. In total, one person has been arrested and 10 people were injured, including one who was shot by an officer. Police said officers recovered 11 firearms at the shootings.
The Short North Foundation has been collecting data since last Saturday’s shootings. In its poll, 36 percent of respondents said they do feel safe in the Short North. However, 22 percent said they didn’t feel safe there after dark, specifically after the bars close, which is when the mass shooting happened.
“I wouldn’t recommend hanging out on High Street at 2:30 in the morning, but there are others that may find that worthwhile,” he said. “But if safety is a concern and you stay out of that area at that time of night, this is a very safe, fun and rewarding neighborhood to live in and it still is.”
Decker said it is a complex issue to fix and will involve many heads coming together to find a solution.
“I don’t know how that translates to High Street, but given the facts that a lot of the obvious tools have been taken away from the city, things like gun control,” he said. “The palate of possible options is much more limited than I would like to see.”
Decker said the Short North Civic Association will hold its next meeting in a few weeks, where a discussion on safety will be a top priority.