Columbus officials, including the Mayor, Police Chief and Safety Director, have been holding neighborhood roundtables over the last month to develop ways to improve police-community relations and reduce crime.
Mayor Andy Ginther says it involves the implementation of new policies and expanding current programs, such as this summer's Safe Streets pilot program in Linden.
Ginther says of the 111 homicides in Columbus this year, more than 70 percent of the victims were African-American males between the ages of 18 and 40. Eighty percent were victims of gun violence. Half remain unsolved. Ginther admits part of the solution involves renewing and enhancing the community's faith in police, which has been shaken by a series of violent incidents involving officers and civil rights complaints against them. Police Chief Kim Jacobs says the division will increase the number of officers getting crisis intervention training.
Columbus Public Health's CARE coalition will hold several community wellness clinics in the Hilltop and Linden areas and offer trauma intervention services. While there were no details of any new strategies, Ginther says new safety policies and plans will be rolled out soon. Some are expected in his municipal budget proposal, which he will send to city council later this month.