Columbus PD: Watch group is reducing crime

(WISH Photo)

COLUMBUS, Ind. (WISH) — Columbus police are crediting a neighborhood watch group for dealing a blow to the crime rate in one part of the city.

On Thursday, the 9th Street neighborhood watch took to the streets to clean up the area for the second time this month.

Police say they are on pace for a 25 percent decrease in calls to the neighborhood from 2013 to the end of this year, and they say the group is playing a big role in that decrease.

Columbus local Lisa Pein spearheaded the group last year.

“We just want to have a wonderful, safe neighborhood where people can feel safe and walk around and get to know each other,” Pein said.

Sgt. Matt Harris said neighborhood cleanups like the one they held Thursday send a message.

“It shows the residents and everybody here that the folks in this neighborhood care. They are taking an active role in keeping their neighborhood safe,” Sgt. Harris said.

Harris said fewer criminals are heading to the area because they know folks in the neighborhood are watching.

Jackie Combest, who’s lived in the neighborhood since 1964, said he’s seeing the impact.

“We’ve gotten rid of some of the drugs. Old, abandoned houses, [and we] got a lot of trash picked up. It’s really improved,” Jackie said.

The group meets once a month to discuss local problems. That’s when they decided what projects they’ll tackle and what issues they should report to the city.

Their next meeting is Oct. 13 at 6:30 p.m. at Second Baptist Church.

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