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Commissioner appeals for crime patrol's expansion

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Ellen L. Moore, executive director of Community Crime Patrol, will be the guest speaker at a meeting of the Clintonville Area Commission's safety and crime committee next Thursday, May 30.

District 7 commission representative Jason Meek, chairman of the committee, announced at the group's May 2 meeting that he has begun preliminary discussions with Moore about having the volunteer patrol extended into more of Clintonville than is already being served.

He invited Moore to the gathering, set for 7:30 p.m. at Beechwold Christian Church, 280 Morse Road, so people can learn more about what he described as "fantastic organization"and about the process for expanding coverage in the neighborhood.

"We're talking about that," Moore said in an interview last week. "It's not a done deal or anything.

"We're already in Clintonville," she noted. "We're already going up to Weber Road."

Based on crime statistics, Moore said it might be the case that, if an expansion does come further north into Clintonville, it might be daytime patrols in response to residential burglaries.

"It's pretty seamless right up High Street," she said. "You've got that corridor running through everything. Every neighborhood has its problems. I think Clintonville has some break-in issues and that kind of thing that are certainly a nuisance.

"We haven't made any firm decisions or commitments."

"I believe it would be a really good thing," Meek said. "I think the CCP has a good body of success of reducing crime in the areas they service."

Even before last week's shootout between police officers and the occupants of a vehicle police attempted to pull over near the intersection of North High Street and East North Broadway, crime had become a concern in Clintonville, Meek said.

"Awareness is certainly high," he said. "I'm not sure I would say the concern is heightened. I think people have a pretty general sense of safety and security and enjoyment in our area ... but I'm curious what statistically we can find, and that's one of the things CCP is available to do through their relationship with Columbus police."

According to its website, the Community Crime Patrol acts as "an extra set of eyes and ears" for Columbus police. Its mission is to get officers to situations in which they are needed. Residents serve as patrol members, equipped only with flashlights, two-way radios and their training, to deter criminals, build awareness of crime-prevention techniques, help bring in crime suspects and provide first aid when needed, the website says.

Meek said his purpose in asking Moore to attend the safety and crime committee meeting was to "just get a broader understanding of what CCP does and how that would be rolled out in Clintonville, if that's a possibility."

"From my understanding, the process going forward would be a formal request to City Hall for our area to be considered for an area for patrol, and then it's a matter of finding funding," Meek said. "I'm curious what possible avenues are available, even from bringing private investors into that."

The last expansion of areas covered by the Community Crime Patrol was about a year ago, when North Linden and a portion of the Northland area were added. That came about when city officials restored funding cuts that had seen the number of volunteers for the program dwindle to only 16, Moore said.

That number now is back up to 45.

"We have to be invited by the community, obviously, first," Moore said of the process for increasing the patrol's coverage area. "We always ask for an invitation or wait for an invitation."

Any changes in patrol area would have to be approved by the board trustees, she added.

"There are a lot of hoops to jump through," Moore said.

"So far, people I've spoken with individually have felt it would be a good idea," Meek said.

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