A spike in truancy in the Northland area has led to a crackdown by police and prompted community leaders to meet with Columbus City Schools to discuss a solution.

A spike in truancy in the Northland area has led to a crackdown by police and prompted community leaders to meet with Columbus City Schools to discuss a solution.

Over the past few weeks, the Forest Park community has seen a rash of daytime burglaries that Northland Community Council President Dave Paul said Columbus police attribute to kids.

"(Forest Park) is kind of the epicenter because we have Northland High School right in the middle of the neighborhood," Paul said. "We've been having a lot of issues."

The problems prompted a meeting earlier this month with representatives from the Northland community, Columbus City Schools and Columbus police.

According to police, 56 truant Brookhaven High School students have been picked up by police this school year, while 48 have been picked up from Northland High School and 25 have been picked up from Beechcroft High School.

That's a marked increase from last year, when police records show 19 students were picked up from Brookhaven, three from Northland and six from Beechcroft.

Columbus Department of Public Safety spokesman Antone White said the numbers were bound to show an increase this year because police have focused more on picking up truant students. But, he said, the numbers still lead police to believe there is a spike in truancy, and officers are patrolling more frequently.

Paul said police records show that no other schools in the area have had more than five students detained by police for truancy, which means the community needs to take action to address the issue.

"Those numbers are enough to say there is a problem," Paul said. "The numbers tell us that, first, we should be talking to Columbus City Schools."

During the meeting earlier this month, Paul said representatives from CCS outlined the truancy plan, which he said has not changed since Northland residents complained of truancy in 2007.

At that time, residents noticed students hanging out in the streets during school hours, Paul said. The problem abated before returning this year.

CCS spokeswoman Kim Norris said the district is committed to continuing to communicate with residents to hear their concerns and to let them know how concerns are being addressed.

"We have a very aggressive policy in place to deal with truancy," Norris said.

Truant students picked up by police are taken to a center on the city's South Side, Norris said. School officials notify the school and a truant student's parents, and set up appointments at the school for dealing with the problem.

Chronically truant students are dealt with by the court system, she said.

Paul said residents and the school district didn't address any long-term fixes for truancy in the neighborhood, but there was agreement that the district needs to be more open in communicating with the neighborhood.

"We agreed that the community has a perception that the schools aren't doing anything to address truancy," Paul said. "The school district needs to do a better job of communicating with the community at large."