PA­TROL

The Columbus Dispatch - - Front Page - Mfer­ench@dis­patch.com @MarkFerenchik

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.

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