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Columbus police use new tools to fight drug crimes

Columbus Police Thursday parked a mobile station at the corner of 8th Ave. and North Fourth St. to combat illegal drug activity. The Weinland Park neighborhood is one of four so-called "Hot Spots" for crime where police are using a combination of high-tech tools and personal relations to boost safety.

Columbus Police Deputy Chief Steve Gammill points to crime statistics as proof that a half-million dollar program for more police and stricter code enforcement works. Gammill says crime-mapping techniques were used during the summer months to document recurring criminal activity in Clintonville, Eastmoor, Mount Vernon and Weinland Park neighborhoods.

But, Deputy Chief Gammill says his force needs more than data-bases and double-clicks to fight crime.

Gammill says police are now working more closely with social service agencies to reduce street crime in Weinland Park.

Reluctance to cooperate with police is a concern citywide. Jim Johnson, head of the Driving Park Area Commission, says computer technology is a useful crime-fighting tool but he says the role of "block watches" and citizen involvment are still the best form of crime prevention.