Gangs taking over street, Hilltop residents complain
at forum hear about violence
Friday, December 01, 2006
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
They fight. They sell dope.
They spray graffiti and trash property.
Emboldened by a shortage of patrol officers
and a revolvingdoor justice system, they hang out on residential streets day and night, starting trouble that sometimes ends
Gang members are becoming bolder and more violent on S. Ogden Avenue, concerned Hilltop homeowners and
community leaders told Columbus police last night.
"Can we get more patrol officers out here? We don’t see them,"
said Ogden resident Kara Hayes.
Neighbors in the 600 block of S. Ogden reported seeing and hearing 20 to 28 gang members
routinely sitting around, drinking beer and cursing loudly at 3 a.m. and later.
"You call police. They break them
up. They’re back out there the next night," resident Lonnie Wellman said.
Another resident had surveillance
video taken from his front lawn overnight on Tuesday. The video showed a car coming to a stop in the middle of the street
and a young man jumping out. Someone shouted invectives as the man destroyed holiday decorations at a neighbor’s house.
Police advised neighbors to be more diligent about reporting gang activity, especially graffiti. Even if officers
aren’t able to respond immediately for a "minor" offense, the number of police runs recorded by dispatchers helps determine
how many officers are deployed in a precinct.
You can tell a lot about the gangs in your neighborhood from the graffiti
they scrawl on walls, detective Jim Sandford said during the gang-violence forum.
"Graffiti art, to us, is like news
in the street," Sandford said.
Suspected gang members were blamed for a recent gunfight that erupted on a Sunday afternoon.
A number of homes were sprayed with bullets, said Justin Boggs, a member of the Greater Hilltop Area Commission and South
Ogden Avenue Block Watch. The Block Watch covers Ogden between W. Mound Street and Sullivant Avenue.
About 20 of the
30 people who attended the forum live on S. Ogden. The rest were police officers, city officials or concerned citizens from
In addition to what was reported by Matt Marx, the Block Watch assigned four new captains to be contact
people to call about crime issues.
The Block Watch will continue communicating with the Columbus Division of Police and it's Gang Unit.
If you have any information, please call us at 276-7542.