Blockwatch Beat: Your Westside resource

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There is a new face on the streets of the Westside.

 The 19th Precinct has a new police liaison officer with the SRB,  officer Ken Ramos. I was able to meet with him recently and find out a little bit more about him.

 Officer Ramos is a Cleveland native and is bi-lingual. He grew up seeing neighborhood blockwatches make a difference as his mother was involved in a blockwatch and community efforts to rid their neighborhood of prostitutes and crime.

 He came to Columbus in 1987 for the National Guard and joined the Columbus Division of Police in 1993. He is a trained flight instructor for the helicopter division and was a patrol pilot.

 Officer Ramos is excited about his new position within the Columbus Division of Police and is committed to working with the residents of 19th Precinct, especially by reaching out to the Hispanic community. The direct number for Ramos is 645-1419.

 Welcome to the Westside, Officer Ramos!

 In other news, it is always nice to start a new year with good news, and it is certainly available on the Westside in this column. The best piece of news is that being a neighbor who is willing to stick their neck out for another neighbor really does pay off.

 Last week, a resident of Westgate happened to look out of her window sometime during the day and saw a stranger on a neighbor’s porch. She was fairly certain that he wasn’t someone the neighbor knew and her suspicions were confirmed when he went around the back of the house. She sent her husband out to check on it and sure enough, he had broken in by kicking in the back door.

 They called 9-1-1.

 The police were there immediately and apprehended the intruder, who was ready to walk out with her television. That is the power of watching out for each other and making sure that anything suspicious is checked out and reported.  Thank you to all involved for helping keep our neighborhood safe.    

 Although it has been quiet in some parts of the Westside, it is not that way everywhere. Please join a blockwatch or be a part of your community and reach out to others. 

 Blockwatches don’t seem like they do much when there is not a lot of crime, but they do. They serve a purpose of keeping people connected and spreading news. A blockwatch works closely with the police to keep them updated and showing the need for patrols in the neighborhood. It is one way to show that a community cares about it’s own and it also helps to keep crime at bay.

 When criminals know that an area is being watched, they may just chose to walk on by and not engage in a “crime of opportunity.” A blockwatch encourages neighbors to look out for one another and to know each other. The neighbor I spoke of previously was able to identify the thief because she knew her neighbor and that the man was not a friend of hers. 

 When we stop caring and start looking the other way, we can kiss our neighborhood goodbye. Don’t let that happen!

 On a final note, spring will be here before you know it and then comes the fun of fence-talking and finding out what your neighbor has been doing all winter. Think blue skies, some of that funny looking yellow stuff shining through your windows, and getting out and about! With that comes neighborhood beautification and we have the perfect way to participate.

 Friends of Westgate Park have set dates for spring plantings and cleanups and we are looking for some good gardeners and folks who would like to participate in the sprucing up of Westgate Park. For more information, contact Lisa Grazier (see the sidebar) or Sue Laughlin at SueLaughlin@sbcglobal.net. Look for the dates in the February installment of the Blockwatch Beat. 

 Until next month, remember that crime is negative but community involvement, positive.  

 Lisa Grazier is coordinator of the Camp Chase Blockwatch.

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