Northland News

Community Crime Patrol

Volunteers add 3 nights to neighborhood watch duties

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JOSHUA A. BICKEL/THISWEEKNEWS
Volunteer David Passet, right, affixes his radio as he and fellow volunteer Chad Kinshaw, left, prepare for their Community Crime Patrol shift in the Northland area of Columbus May 15.
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Community Crime Patrol, which expanded into the Northland and North Linden area almost a year ago, has added more nights to its schedule.

Ellen L. Moore, executive director of the 23-year-old nonprofit volunteer organization, said last week that three more nights of patrols are being manned in the North Linden and Northland neighborhoods that were added in June 2012.

Patrols have been conducted on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights during the first 11 months in the new territory, "just to try it out, see what was what," Moore said. One team of volunteers is now patrolling Monday nights and two teams on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.

Moore has been with Community Crime Patrol for 21 years, the last dozen as executive director. She said she has applied for a grant from the United Way of Central Ohio to keep the additional nights of patrol going past 2014.

According to the organization's website, "CCP is a group of highly trained citizen patrollers working to increase safety in Columbus neighborhoods. Equipped only with flashlights, two-way radios and their training, CCP patrollers deter criminals, build neighborhood awareness of crime prevention techniques, assist in the apprehension of suspects and provide first aid when needed."

The organization was founded to patrol the University District, which extends into southern Clintonville. Since then, the Hilltop, Franklinton, Merion Village, German Village and downtown patrols have been added, along with bike trail and park patrols.

The last expansion was announced about a year ago when Columbus City Council restored funding cuts that enabled more volunteers to be accepted into the program, Moore said.

"It was just the next logical place for us to go, given the number of requests we've received from different groups," she said of the North Linden area and the Clinton Estates and Maize Morse Tri-Area neighborhoods of Northland.

The volunteers patrolling North Linden and Northland operate out of office space in the Fedderson Community Center on Dresden Street.

Northland resident Michael Kean, an accountant by day, is a volunteer who patrols in his own neighborhood by night.

"I've always been interested in trying to help the community out in some fashion, in some way," Kean said.

He said he and a patrol partner recently participated in alerting the Columbus Division of Police to the presence of a would-be car burglar in the vicinity of Morse Road and Walford Street. The volunteers spotted the man jiggling door handles and followed at a discreet distance while radioing to officers.

"CPD was very quick to respond once they heard our transmission over the radio," said Kean, who is also president of the Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association.

The new neighborhoods added in 2012 have proven to be a "very different animal from other areas we patrol ... the density is not quite as great, with the houses further apart and sidewalks with a neighborhood, more residential feel than an urban setting," Moore said.

"We have a lot of interaction with the residents and we do a lot of code violations and quality-of-life issues," she added. "We're not getting an arrest every night, but we are, I think, contributing to the overall appearance of the neighborhood and making sure things are kept in an orderly fashion. Certainly, we've had a couple of arrests ... There has been some excitement up there."

Moore, who noted that 42 current Columbus police officers were once CCP volunteers, said excitement isn't what the organization is all about.

"It's not all glamour," she said. "There are lots of times where it's just not really very exciting. What we try to emphasize with people is the important thing is you're out there, you're an extra set of eyes and ears for the community ... and the people in the neighborhoods appreciate that we're there. They tell us that all the time.

"The community has been an integral part of the success of the program," Moore said. "The success of any program is how vibrant the groups are in supporting what we've been doing and they've been absolutely very supportive and wonderful to work with."

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