Griffin said, “They’re really into measurements.”
The patrol’s budget, largely city money, peaked at $942,695 in 2012-13. Today, it’s $475,000.
The Community Crime Patrol has only two full-time staff members, including Griffin, who took a 20 percent pay cut. The rest are paid part-timers.
Griffin said that at its peak, the patrol had 35 staff members. Today, it’s down to 20.
The crime patrol winds through neighborhoods and calls police or code-enforcement officers when it sees problems.
Trent Smith, who leads the Franklinton Area Commission and is executive director of the Franklinton Board of Trade, said he knows the patrol has cut back hours in his neighborhood.
“They’re a great second set of eyes and ears,” said Smith, who has complained to the city about aggressive panhandling as Franklinton redevelops. “I’m worried they’re not around as much.” Ryan Edwards, senior director of neighborhood partnerships at the United Way
The cuts are illustrated to some extent in year-to-year and month-to-month activity by the crime patrol. For example, the number of assists the crime patrol provided in the Franklinton and Hilltop areas through March dropped from 156 in March 2017 to 62 in March 2018.
In the Southern Orchards neighborhood, just south of Nationwide Children’s Hospital on the South Side, the number of assists dropped from 112 in January through March 2017 to 57 in the same period this year.
Atticus Garden, who represents Southern Orchards on the Columbus South Side Area Commission, said he was unaware of the funding reduction but worries it could affect Since the fiscal year of March 1, 2012, through Feb. 28, 2013, the budget for the civilian Community Crime Patrol has dropped by almost half after cuts by the city and most recently by the United Way of Central Ohio, which decided not to fund the service at all after giving $135,000 in 2016-17.
Funding sources Columbus Ohio State United Way Total
2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 $763,000 $763,000 $700,000 $375,000 $100,000 $100,000 $100,000 $100,000 $79,695 $77,815 $110,000 $110,000 $942,695 $940,815 $910,000 $585,000 a pilot program beginning in May in which the patrol, working with Columbus Public Health, will accompany students walking to and from Livingston Elementary School.
Griffin said she didn’t think the pilot program would be affected by the overall cuts. The Southern Orchards patrols are funded by $25,000 from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, $20,000 from the nonprofit Community Development for All People and $15,000 from the city.
Griffin said warmer weather in early 2017 led to some increased activity compared with this year so far. But the budget cuts play a role in those declining activity numbers, too.
Other areas the patrol visits are Olde Towne East, the University District and South Clintonville. Numbers are down in all.
James Flannery of the Franklin Park Civic Association said he’s aware of the cuts; the patrol goes
2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 $400,000 $390,000 $375,000 $100,000 $100,000 $100,000 $135,000 0 0 $635,000 $490,000 $475,000 through his, area too.
Flannery agreed that it’s hard to measure the impact of the group but he believes it benefits the neighborhood. He’d like to see more daytime patrols to cut down on package thefts from porches, and would like the group to patrol more near growing entertainment areas such as around Oaks and South 18th streets, home to bars and restaurants.