Neighborhood Movement Turns Into Block Watch
A North Columbus neighborhood is kicking crime out of their streets. Residents in the Linden neighborhood want crime out and they want police to take their calls more seriously.
"One guy stopped me and he said are you going to come to the block watch meeting and he said, 'Heck no, I'm a criminal and we like this neighborhood this way' and I said, that's a shame because we're changing it," said Leigh Anne Ward.
Ward is on a mission. She moved back to her home on Manchester Avenue after 12 years away.
"All the things we had started had sort of disintegrated," said Ward. "This summer we had three shootings in less than two weeks, in less than a two block span from my house."
Neighbors are now joining her mission. They are not just complaining about crime, but how police and fire respond to the calls.
"It's a huge problem," said Ward.
Neighbor Deb Pariano called about an accident in front of her home.
"I told them it just happened. It looked pretty bad. There were four little kids in the back seat," said Pariano.
She said no one came. She says neighbors keep calling.
"My neighbor called and they told him no one had called," said Pariano.
She filed a complaint with the fire department about the emergency response and was told corrective action would be taken. Pariano says she and her neighbor recently called about a prostitute in the alley and nothing was done.
"They said, yes we did get a call, we have that information and that was it. No one ever came that we saw," said Pariano.
Police tell me calls are given a priority. The more immediate the situation, the more immediate the response. Residents want more attention all around.
"At any given time, we only have four to six officers from Cooke Road to Hudson. We need four to six officers from Weber to Genessee," said Ward.
So neighbors are pushing for change. It started with two blocks, three weeks ago.
"So then it became Manchester, Aberdeen and Minnesota. Then, at our first meeting members showed up from Weber and Genessee," said Ward.
95 people signed up so far. They're working with their police liaison on response issues and training to be a true block watch.
"It's definitely needed, we need some attention here and some responsiveness," said Pariano.