Residents Rise Up Against Neighborhood Crime


UPDATED: Wednesday August 8, 2012 6:12 AM

Hundreds of people in communities around central Ohio gathered on Tuesday to fight crime.

A number of events were scheduled in communities as part of National Night Out.

National Night Out, which is in its 29th year, is designed to heighten crime awareness, generate participation in anticrime programs and send messages to criminals that neighborhoods are fighting crime.

For the first time, six neighborhoods in the Short North came together for National Night Out.

“I have to say that anytime we see a car turning into the end of a dead end turning around, it always raises suspicion because you never know why someone would come to a dead end,” said new Short North resident Zach Rodriguez.

Ashley Nordin of Utrecth Art Supplies on High Street said that recent break-ins have brought Short North businesses together.

“To have everyone come together for the same reason to try to promote and protect the businesses would be an awesome idea,” Nordin said. “If they get someone in a photo or someone has been caught stealing, they’ll alert all the businesses of what’s going on.”

CrimeTracker 10 uncovered 52 crime reports in the Short North in the past week.

Rodriguez said that he thought the night out against crime was a good start.

“Any awareness is good awareness,” Rodriguez said.

Short North residents who attended National Night Out were asked to BYOF – bring your own flashlights.

Residents in Pickerington planned to gather at the corner of Flat River and Brighton streets. The block watch captain in the areas said that property crime in one of their top concerns.

Police were on hand Tuesday to reach residents tips for protecting their property.

Members of the Colonial Hills Civic Association in Worthington said that they hoped their National Night Out event would encourage residents to join their block watch and to be on email lists.

Westerville planned to hold more than 10 events for National Night Out. The city’s police chief said that the number of events was by design.

“A lot of communities have very good large parties,” said Westerville police Chief Joe Morbitzer. “What we like to do is bring that right down to the neighborhood level, so we have folks in their neighborhoods, getting to know their neighbors through block watches, which are very good things.”

Morbitzer said that Westerville is host to 42 block watches. One of them helped police solve two regional burglary rings.

This year’s National Night Out festival in the King-Lincoln District is celebrating the rebirth of the community.

Marty Harmon, a former resident of the area, said that she had fond memories of growing up in the district, where parents parented and neighbors helped each other.

“If you acted up, this neighbor would get you,” Harmon said. “Before you got home, your mother would know about it.”

Nichole Leatherbury-Brandon, the director of development for the Mayor’s office, said that revitalizing the King-Lincoln District is not only about surviving but also about thriving.

“I think we contribute to improving the safety in the area just by removing some of these vacant and blighted structures, where crime can take place,” said Leatherbury-Brandon.

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