An upcoming neighborhood meeting in the Bexley Community Garden is designed to increase participation in a new block watch group in the Ferndale Place and Mayfield Place communities in southwest Bexley.
Three residents and representatives from Bexley police and Capital University security attended the block watch group's first meeting, held May 15 at City Hall. The residents and police representatives have tentatively planned to hold another meeting in June, with a date to be announced, in the Community Garden.
Holding the meeting at the garden is designed to increase participation, since the garden, located at the intersection of Ferndale and Mayfield, is within walking distance for most residents in the area, Bexley police Sgt. Dawn Overly-Sheterom said.
"In order for a block watch to work, the people have to care," said Overly-Sheterom, who is assisting with the block watch effort.
Ferndale Place resident Ruth Mickens, who organized the block watch, said increasing police presence in the area and putting potential criminals on alert that they're being watched are essential.
"If there's no punishment for what they're doing, they're just going to escalate," Mickens said.
The block watch is part of a series of efforts aimed at increasing safety and improving overall conditions in the Ferndale Place and Mayfield Place neighborhoods.
Bexley City Council is considering new legislation designed to give the city tools to hold landlords accountable for properties that have a disproportionate number of police and code enforcement calls.
Overly-Sheterom said there have been 64 arrests related to incidents in the Ferndale and Mayfield area in the past year alone.
One ordinance would allow the city "to repair or improve code violations and collect the expenses associated with said work in instances where property owners fail, neglect or refuse to comply with the requirements of code enforcement notices."
The second would "create the Ferndale and Mayfield Place Residential rehabilitation grant program to provide matching grants to residential property owners and tenants on Ferndale Place and Mayfield Place for qualifying landscape and trash enclosure improvements."
The legislation, along with the block watch and new street lights that are scheduled to be installed in the Ferndale and Mayfield area sometime this year, are part of a long-term, multifaceted approach to address safety and quality of life issues over the next few years, Overly-Sheterom said.
"What it looks like to me is we need to be proactive with law enforcement and proactive with landlords -- getting the good people in and getting the bad people out," she said.
For more information about the Ferndale and Mayfield block watch, contact Overly-Sheterom at DOverly@bexley.org.