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Spike in Violence Has Made Driving Park Neighborhood A Priority For Police

Columbus Police talk about the patrol changes they are making to keep a community safe. Get the story.

Columbus Police said they are making some patrol changes after a spike in violence in the Driving Park neighborhood.

Neighbors and police gathered Tuesday night to take part in National Night Out.

"It brings together the neighbors to get to know each other," said former Driving Park resident Charlotte Ellzy.
 
But as the children of Driving Park smile as they get their faces painted for National Night Out on Tuesday evening, former residents like Ellzy are nervous about the very thing National Night Out is supposed to prevent: violent crimes.

"I'm concerned because my son lives in this area and I'm concerned because he comes home late at night," Ellzy said.

The spike in violence in Driving Park started back on July 21st when a man was fatally shot on Lilley Avenue. Since then, there have been three other deadly shootings. The latest one happened Monday night on Miller Avenue.

"You're either part of the solution or you're part of the problem," said James Johnson, President of the Driving Park Civic Association.

Johnson was one of the dozens of residents that showed up to Driving Park to meet with police and other city leaders. Johnson says Tuesday's event was about encouraging other residents to be vigilant.

"If you see something wrong, call somebody. Call the police," he said.

Columbus Police say Driving Park is now a priority for them.

"I have my Community Safety Team down there. They're very vigilant. I've asked them to ride in the alleys North and South of Livingston Avenue," said Columbus Police Commander Rhonda Grizzell.

Police say they're also putting extra officers on bike patrol in an effort to stop the violence.

"We know they're a lot of great folks out there but they might be afraid. We want to be there for them to lean on us to help us and we can't do it without them," Grizzell said.

Police said Columbus has had less homicide this year than in the last two years even with the spike in violence over the last month.

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