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Ohio State Announces $20 Million Towards Public Safety In Campus Area

Ohio State President Kristina Johnson speaks at a press conference announcing funding towards public safety on Sept. 24, 2021.
Michael Lee
Ohio State President Kristina Johnson speaks at a press conference announcing funding towards public safety on Sept. 24, 2021.

Ohio State University announced Friday it's investing an additional $20 million towards safety and security in the campus area.

The university will invest $2 million into public safety on- and off-campus every year for the next decade. University president Kristina Johnson said the funds will go towards services like expanding off-campus private security and additional campus service officers, mobile lighting and mobile camera systems.

She added Ohio State police will continue to hire more officers, and work with the city to review the effectiveness of the university's safety measures on and off campus.

"This is personal to me. There is nothing I take more seriously than student safety," she said. "Our student safety is number one, and always will be."

The announcement comes after the Columbus Division of Police responded to shots fired at a house in the off-campus area early Friday morning near Tuller Street and Woodruff Avenue. An Ohio State safety notice stated the suspects were initially turned away from a house party and said they would return.

Johnson said while the implementation of the safety services has been in plan since last year, the events overnight made the announcement timely.

"Last night's events were tragic were terrible. I mean they were just tragic," she said. "I don't want that to happen again. So we're announcing it today."

Earlier this month, Ohio State and Columbus police announced new security measures on and around the campus area to combat the increase in crime there in the last few months. According to the Department of Public Safety, since the plan was implemented days before on Aug. 27, total violent incidences in the University District were down 51% as of Sept. 20.

But despite that, the city as a whole continues to see gun violence. Thursday night, two boys — 12 and 16 years old — were shot near the King-Lincoln Bronzeville neighborhood. According to the police, the boys were transported to a nearby hospital and are in stable condition.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said the city needs the community to "step up" and provide information to police on violent incidences, including both shootings overnight. He adds they know that much of the violent crime in the city is being perpetuated by a small group of people.

"This must stop," Ginther said. "Put the guns down. End the violence now."

Michael Lee joined WOSU in 2021, but was previously an intern at the station in 2018. He is a graduate from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism where he obtained his master's degree, and an alumnus of Ohio State University. Michael has previously worked as an intern at the Columbus Dispatch and most recently, the Chicago Sun-Times.