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Columbus Police Start Up 'Safe Streets' Program Again

Columbus Police bike officers at a protest in downtown Columbus in 2018.
Columbus Police bike officers at a protest in downtown Columbus in 2018.

Columbus Police roll out their annual Safe Streets program on Monday.

The program uses uniformed bike patrol officers in the warmer months of the year to increase day-to-day contact between the police and the community.

Thirty officers, six sergeants and one lieutenant will patrol Linden, the Hilltop and the South Side from April 1 to October 5. A press release from Columbus Police says the officers will work on community engagement, identifying human trafficking and managing officer stress and wellness. Officers received training on Saturday ahead of the program's start.

Safe Streets started in Linden in 2017 as part of Mayor Andrew Ginther's Comprehensive Neighborhood Safety Strategy, which arrived amid Columbus' deadliest year on record. The program expanded to the Parson's corridor and the Hilltop in 2018.

In the program's first year, violent crime with and without guns decreased significantly in Linden. The results did not initially translate to the South Side and Hilltop, however, which saw modest increases in crime in 2018.

Officers will work in partnership with Code Enforcement, the City Attorney’s Office, Neighborhoods Project and Refuse Collection.

Adora Namigadde was a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU News in February 2017. A Michigan native, she graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in French.