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Police increasing measures to prevent crime at central Ohio shopping centers

Crime reports from Reynoldsburg police show average monthly calls for service in the popular Taylor Square shopping center are nearly 10% higher compared to 2020.

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — The “hustle and bustle” is starting to come back to central Ohio shopping centers as more people feel comfortable being in public with vaccinations numbers on the rise.

“Since things have opened back up, people are out shopping and doing what they need to do,” Officer Robert King said. He works as a Community Liaison for the Reynoldsburg Division of Police.

Unfortunately, more people out and about once again create more opportunities for crime.

“We’re seeing a lot more active thefts where they will actually just go in a store and then walk right out with it,” Officer King said.

Crime reports from Reynoldsburg police show average monthly calls for service in the popular Taylor Square shopping center off State Route 256 are nearly 10% higher now compared to 2020.

CrimeTracker 10 also found similar trends in other popular shopping areas such as Easton Town Center, Polaris Fashion Place, Eastland Mall and the Dublin Sawmill Shopping Center.

“My personal opinion, I think they’re {criminals} are getting bored or I think they’re just like, ‘you know what, I’m just gonna go for it’,” Officer King said.

Debbie Wells has operated the Avis Budget store in Taylor Square for 17 years. She says her biggest issue is the number of car break-ins and catalytic converter thefts, and she’s always a little suspect.

“You know, in the mornings, you come in you can tell that that car is not supposed to be here,” Wells said.

Wells took part in a new Reynoldsburg crime prevention method five years ago where police connected local businesses owners through email to better inform them of crime alerts and incidents. 

Today, Officer King and his partner Officer Scott Marshall use the GroupMe app which includes business owners, managers, and loss prevention specialists.

“You’ll be surprised,” Officer King said. “If you put someone up within 30 seconds, whether that’s loss prevention or another law enforcement agency, they will be like, ‘hey that’s my guy from my store I need them too!’”

For the next two months, Reynoldsburg police will deploy an elevated police tower in the parking lot of Taylor Square much like last year. The four cameras give officers a bird’s eye view of criminals in action.

“We’re also seeing a few robberies here and there where people are getting mugged in the parking lot,” King adds. “One thing I definitely recommend, and I tell people when I’m out is if you can bring someone with you, bring someone with you because it’s two against one and that’s always better in a situation.”

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