Article Comment 

Police use crime stats to focus efforts


Jason Browne



As part of a new strategy, the Columbus Police Department recently released crime statistics for the month of July. 


The reports will be released monthly and used to "analyze problem areas and help implement prevention strategies," according to a press release from the CPD. 


The CPD already has begun to more aggressively patrol the center of the city where the highest concentrations of crime takes place, according to Columbus Police Chief Joseph St. John. 


The monthly statistics are intended to illustrate where crimes are taking place and what crimes are occurring. Each month, the reports also will be accompanied by reports on what the CPD is doing to address those crimes. 


In July, the Columbus Police Department, had 2,919 calls for service, many of which -- 513 -- were traffic related, and 113 arrests. 


Another 335 were disturbance calls; 183 involved reports of a suspicious person, vehicle or circumstances, followed closely by commercial alarm calls -- 179. 


This information and other details will be used to address problem areas. 


For example, in mid-August, -- Aug. 12-18 -- a cluster of criminal activity was focused on the south-central area of Columbus, extending north just beyond 22nd Avenue North, south to Pickensville Road, west to Fourth Street and east to the Seventh Avenue North. 


The CPD will focus its patrols wherever the highest concentration of crime exists, said St. John. The patrols will involve increased vehicular police presence, as well as foot patrols. 


"In the past we''ve really been trapped by the beat system," said St. John. "We have five beats. Instead of worrying about having an officer in each one of our beats, I''m going to have my guys right here (in the high-crime area). We''re going to put our resources where the problem is." 


The shift in focus doesn''t mean patrols will cease in surrounding areas, but they will become less frequent, he noted. During a 12-hour shift, officers will have time to patrol the outer areas of the city while devoting more time to the problem area. 


"We''re still going to respond to calls. We''re still going to be timely," he said. 


Additionally, the CPD''s Drug Interdiction Criminal Enforcement team and K-9 units will focus on the area of highest crime. 


St. John hopes to avoid giving the target area a reputation as the dangerous part of town. 


"Just because an area is a trouble area doesn''t mean all the people who live there are bad. There are several things about statistics that make me feel uncomfortable, but that''s probably the major one," he said. "That circle is not to defame anybody. A lot of good people live in that circle. But we''re going to hit it and we''re going to hit it hard. 


"If you''re a bar owner and you''re not a good steward, you''re going to get our attention. If you''re a neighborhood and you have people standing around drinking or selling drugs out in public, you''re going to get our attention." 


Friday marked the DICE team''s first foray into the high-crime area; it netted 11 summonses and 12 arrests. 


"That''s 23 crimes that wouldn''t have been reported if we didn''t make the attack. So you''re going to see a little spike in crime at first, but I''m OK with that," said St. John. 


He also pointed out the majority of Columbus'' crime is non-violent in nature, with the most common felonies being burglaries. 




Polices dispatches in July (incomplete list 




  • Total calls for service: 2,919 


  • Alarm-commercial only: 179 


  • Alarm-residential only: 69 


  • Auto accidents: 91 


  • Burglaries: 41 


  • Business checks: 100 


  • Disturbance calls: 335 


  • Fire related: 27 


  • Health/medical: 50 


  • Juvenile complaint: 76 


  • Traffic related: 513 


  • Motorist assist: 60 


  • Stolen property: 90 


  • Speak with an officer: 68 


  • Suspicious person/vehicle/circumstances: 183 


  • Total arrests: 113 





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Reader Comments

Article Comment Marsha commented at 9/3/2009 11:58:00 AM:

Let's trace how many arrests for outstanding warrants are made due to the person being picked up during another crime versus how many are picked because the police actually went out and issued the warrant.


Article Comment melody commented at 9/3/2009 3:34:00 PM:

Here we go again..Mr St John has a new oh my goodness, this is going to work? You list the areas that you are going to patrol for all the crooks to read..duh! They will just move to a non targeted area and keep on keeping on. Just as they are now ! Let's face it, Columbus crime is flourishing and will continue to do so. I hope he has another idea hidden somewhere???


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