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Columbus Police, Ohio State Announce Efforts To Increase Security Around Campus

Columbus Division of Police Deputy Chief Jennifer Knight at a press conference on September 1, 2021 in an off-campus housing area just east of Ohio State campus.
Scott Good
Columbus Division of Police Deputy Chief Jennifer Knight at a press conference on September 1, 2021 in an off-campus housing area just east of the Ohio State campus.

The Columbus Division of Police and Ohio State announced new security measures they are taking to address the recent increase in crime around the university at a press conference on Wednesday at the Indianola Presbyterian Church just east of High Street.

Police officials said that compared to 2019, there has been a 51% increase in aggravated assaults, robberies and residential burglaries this year around the campus area. In August alone this year, there was a 100% increase in such incidents compared to the same month in 2019.

Columbus Division of Police Deputy Chief Jennifer Knight said she hopes this is just a trend that will not continue and asked university-area residents and local city governments to help law enforcement use all available resources to decrease the crime. She then delivered a pointed message to criminals in the area.

“And I’m here to tell those individuals that are victimizing the students out here that we will have a police officer right around the corner,” Knight said. “We will catch you, we will arrest you, and we will prosecute you.”

Knight said the police will shift resources into the University District by adding additional on-duty and overtime officers to patrol the area.

“Significantly increasing uniform patrols and plainclothes officers in the area,” she said. “Beginning immediately, we’re more than doubling our resources in the campus area, adding additional bike units, which are very effective in the off-campus housing area.”

The police will also staff a joint OSU CPD Overtime Crime Interdiction Unit, which Knight said is paid for through university resources. The unit will put overtime officers into the off-campus housing area, as well as assign lead robbery detectives and a crime analyst to identify suspects, track crime trends, obtain video camera feed and solve crimes.

“All of the things that we have that will provide evidence and provide support for a data-driven police response,” Knight said. “So we’ll be looking at those stats on a daily basis.”

Columbus Police and Ohio State will also increase lighting in areas the police are concerned about, as well as add more security patrols and cameras on roads with heavy student commuter traffic, Knight added.

Knight implored students to think of themselves as collaborators with law enforcement by diligently paying attention to their surroundings and calling the police if they see something suspicious.

“We absolutely cannot do this without the collaboration of the students,” she said. “We can’t investigate what we don’t know about... If they’ve been a victim of any kind of crime, they need to call Columbus Police and report that crime, so that we can make sure we’re looking at all those evolving trends, [and so that] we can try to investigate those crimes as well.”

Wednesday’s press conference comes after the university in August issued six safety notices that involved suspects showing, pointing or firing guns at people in the campus area, some of whom were students.