Hilltop leaders looking for solutions to two issues: trash and crime

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH)–One neighborhood commission is looking for more answers on how to make its community a safer place for the residents.

They’re looking for help from the city entities two-fold.

This was after a new partnership was announced that would put extra help in the short north.

The Greater Hilltop Area Commission is looking for two things that they believe will help halt crime and they’re looking for ways to be better partners.

Zerqa Abid leads the greater hilltop area commission’s public safety committee. She said believes there are two issues that play off one another, impacting the hilltop.

“When a neighborhood has trash issues it attracts more crimes,” she said.

The commission is working with the city on a pilot program for trash pickup.

Moving from large containers in the alleyways to smaller bins brought to the street in front of homes in an effort to help clean up.

“That’s where the area commission will need to lead that charge to get residents to agree that something they’re willing to do,” said Tim Sauger the Director of the Division of Refuse. He added the GHAC will need to get residents to agree to the plan.

Residents asked a Columbus police sergeant about increased safety with crime increasing. Many asking questions about a new project involving police and the Short North Alliance.

“They are going to pay for these extra officers — this is not city tax money it is not coming out of the city’s budget and it is not pulling officers off of their regular assignments.”

The Short North will be using special improvement district funding, which is money raised by businesses and residents in the area, to cover extra hours by a small contingent of officers.

Sergeant Frederick Brophy shared his perspective on what can make a difference in safety.

“I do believe that as long as we continue to communicate — open communication, free flow of information — give us as much as you can so that we can conduct investigations.”

Abid said it comes down to resources and funding. That’s her next step, how to work with police to bring more to the hilltop.

“We want to team up with them, we want to understand what are the challenges, just exactly what we did with the division of refuse.”

Working with police will be a continued conversation for their meetings. The Greater Hilltop Area Commission hopes to begin the change in the trash pickup before winter starts.

The next step for them is to identify a couple of streets to try it out and to petition their neighbors to agree to the proposed changes.

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