Columbus Mayor Says Second Strike Force Is A Success
The second summer strike force to reduce crime in Columbus recently came to an end, and Mayor Michael Coleman said it was a success. Coleman released the results in front of a former drug house on the city's south side.
As Mayor Michael Coleman took the podium in front of 507 East Morrill Avenue, a few neighbors made their way to sidewalks and front porches to listen. Coleman told them the city is going to continue its efforts in cleaning up their neighborhood.
"The criminal element is going to jail. And these officers, the best in the nation, are going to make sure they serve time, make sure they are arrested," Coleman said.
One East Morrill Avenue resident, who declined to be recorded for fear of retaliation by a local landlord, said she does feel a little safer. For a long time she said she was afraid to even sit on her front porch. But she does now since there are more police officers in the area. She also said she hears fewer gun shots during the night.
Joseph Nagy's shoe shop, which is just down the road, has boards covering the windows. He had to replace the front door about a year ago after a break in. But that has not discouraged Nagy who has lived and owned his business on the south side for 58 years.
"I'm not scared to go out, no, not yet. It might come that way one of these days. We're out at night, but not a whole lot," Nagy said.
Columbus Division of Police Zone Five Patrol Commander, Mike Springer, said he is more than pleased with this year's outcome.
"Even though the summer strike force is over, you're going to continue to see results because the coordination of the efforts of other division components both inside and outside the division are continuing," Springer said. Officers made 700 arrests during the effort. That's 27 percent more than last year. 460 of those were felonies. Officers also seized about 200 guns. This year's summer strike force had about half the number of officer as last year's. But the patrols lasted about three weeks longer. But when asked if the strike force actually reduced violent crime, Coleman did not say yes or no.
"If the strike force weren't in place I would guarantee you that the crime rate would be even higher," Coleman said.
Officials are considering extending the strike force past the summer months.