Capital Crossroads Quietly Keeps Downtown Columbus Safe

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Downtown Columbus is one of the top three safest precincts in all of Columbus.

City leaders say it's because all the traffic and people are creating a built-in safety factor.

Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, who lives downtown, said that there is no reason for anyone to feel threatened in the center of the city.

Cleve Ricksecker runs the Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District. It is 38 square blocks in the heart of downtown full of offices, restaurants and downtown living spaces.

"It's not a good place to commit a crime, because there's lots and lots of eyes we have on the streets down here," Ricksecker said.

Besides the uniformed officers who walk the streets and bike-patrol the district, Crossroads has a couple dozen so-called clean and safe ambassadors.

They pick up trash, tend the sidewalk floral displays and keep an eye on parking lots and nuisances like public drunks.

"One of the ways we've been helpful, we've gone after the carryouts and insisted they pull those products from the shelves, and when they've done that, we've seen a decrease in public intoxication of almost 100 percent," Ricksecker said.

He said his group goes after the liquor permits of carryouts that don't agree to refrain from selling fortified wine, 40-ounce beer and similar high-powered beverages downtown.

Ricksecker said Capital Crossroads has also linked hundreds of private security people in downtown buildings, so they're talking to each other.

According to Ricksecker, one of the areas that still needs work is finding more help for the homeless and mentally ill people camped out around social services and shelters downtown.

By the way, the other two safest neighborhoods in town, according to safety experts, are the near northwest and far northwest area of Columbus. 

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