COLUMBUS, Ohio — It was Friday night, and engines were racing. Neighbors at 80 on the Commons heard the commotion coming from the top of the Columbus Commons garage.
They captured video of a string of cars driving to the top of the garage to drift and do donuts. 10TV sent that video to police and the garage owners to get answers.
“It’s a huge safety issue,” said Columbus Division of Police Commander Mark Denner, who oversees zone 5 in the city. “There is quality-of-life issues, and people want to be able to sleep and enjoy and be outside and all those things that everybody has the right to do. However, there is that safety component. And when we have individuals that are doing wheelies, burnouts, racing, that’s the safety issue.”
Cmdr. Denner said the activity seen in the videos would fall under the category of reckless operation. And that is the focus of the Operation Wheels Down campaign. During the two crackdowns so far this year, more than 30 people were arrested or issued summons, and nearly two-dozen vehicles were impounded.
“We want to make sure that, regardless of the type of vehicle it is, if it’s a threat to the safety or to the public, we’re going to address that,” Cmdr. Denner said.
At the suggestion of one neighbor, 10TV reached out to management at 80 on the Commons. The woman who answered the phone said there had been no complaints from residents, told the reporter to contact the garage owners, and then hung up on her.
10TV did reach out to the garage owners and received a statement from Mary Brennan Coursey, spokeswoman for LAZ.
"The safety and security of our customers and employees is our utmost priority,” the statement said. “We were immediately aware of this single incident, and our security team dealt with it quickly and professionally by escorting the drivers out of the garage. We continually review our security and operational plans to pivot to meet the facility's changing needs.”
While many of the incidents with ATVs, dirt bikes and cars have been reported in the downtown area by 10TV, Cmdr. Denner said Zone 5 actually only received 11 complaint calls during the month of May. That pales in comparison to the dozens of calls taken from the surrounding areas. He said resources are often distributed at least partly in accordance with those calls, so he suggests neighbors reach out to CPD when they see problems.
Videos and pictures can be sent via the department’s social media pages. They also can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.