COLUMBUS, Ohio — As crime trends spiral up this year compared to last year, the Columbus Division of Police and Columbus Division of Fire are hitting the streets to promote safety within the communities and interact with residents one on one.
“This is another example of how we have our cadets who are young people that are interested in being first responders out in the community who are meeting the community side by side to provide resources to our community,” said Councilmember Emmanuel Remy.
Remy said it’s crucial for kids who might never get to leave their neighborhood, to have exposure to positive influences and careers.
"Sometimes we see that our kids haven't even left our neighborhood so exposing them to other parts of downtown or other parts of the city is eye-opening. They might not know what career opportunities are out there, we want to make sure they do,” Remy said.
The push for safety comes as crime trends are spiraling up. This week Columbus is sitting at 78 homicides in 2023, compared to 64 at this time in 2022. There have also been 705 felony assaults, compared to 668 at this time in 2022.
Maria Menditea, who lives on the east side of Columbus, said she hears gunshots in her neighborhood all the time.
“It makes me so nervous, it makes me feel so afraid,” said Menditea. “I pray don't be so close, or even here in my house."
Al Edmondson owns a barber shop down the street. He's taking the problems into his own hands by mentoring youth who may otherwise be caught up in the violence.
“I'm definitely devastated every day when we hear about mass shootings or shootings in our neighborhood, and it's a concern for all the residents in our community and the businesses as well,” said Edmonson.
Edmondson, who is helping a local social justice camp on Wednesday, said the group is making care packages for new members in the community so they know they are welcome and supported.
"I think one of the things that we have to continue as men in our community is reach out and talk to these men who are doing the gun violence or even stealing these cars. I think that we have to continue to work together to make sure the resources are there to get off the street and do positive things,” said Edmonson.