Columbus Announces Updates To Neighborhood Safety Strategy
Bike patrols are coming to new neighborhoods as part of the city's ongoing effort to enact its new Comprehensive Neighborhood Safety Strategy.
Mayor Andrew Ginther rolled out the Comprehensive Neighborhood Safety Strategy last November, amid the most deadly year Columbus has seen.
On Tuesday, Police Chief Kim Jacobs announced the department will expand the Safe Streets initiative, a community police bike patrol program that started in Linden last year.
"Last year, we tried it out here in Linden with great success, Jacobs said. "A lot of personal contact with the officers going to community meetings and engaging with people on the streets."
Next month, it will also launch in the Hilltop and South Side.
"We're gonna have three teams this year instead of just the one team," Jacobs said. "I'm gonna ask the people in Linden, Hilltop and the South Side, when they see these officers out there on bikes who'll be in uniform, riding around saying, 'Hey, what's going on in your neighborhood?'"
Police also began a program that allows officers to text message callers from their cruisers instead of following up in person. The department is also having some cold case officers work on aggravated assault cases to save resources.
An investigation by WOSU found that Columbus Police lags behind other comparably sized cities in terms of its police force, which is being stretched thin due to a rise in homicides. In January, Ginther announced plans to add even more police recruits.
"Last year, we only had a few people that we encouraged to do a ride along," Jacobs said. "The new recruiting unit has already encouraged 123 people to go on a police ride-along in just three months."
On Tuesday, Ginther also announced the city hired Emerald Hernendez to coordinate non-police efforts to reduce violent crime.