Safety issues addressed at Westland Area Commission meeting

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By Hannah Poling
Staff Writer

Officer Rob Bruce from the Columbus Division of Police attended the virtual April 21 Westland Area Commission meeting to discuss several concerns in the Westland and Hilltop areas.

In mid-April, Columbus police officers were sent to a homeless camp after receiving multiple complaints from residents. The camp was reportedly located behind the Valleyview middle school. The individual who was staying in the area was given a few days to clean up and vacate.

According to Bruce, the officers do hand out literature to the homeless with lists and locations of resources to help them.

“A lot of people can get new sleeping bags and tents and such from Jordan’s Crossing and Resource center,” said Westland commissioner Nancy Day-Achauer.

According to Melissa Green, a neighborhood liaison with the city of Columbus, they also work closely with the Mount Carmel and Mary Haven outreach teams. Before any camps are moved, outreach employees and social workers go to the camps and do several weeks of engagement with the homeless to try to connect them with supportive housing.

“It’s not illegal to be houseless, so it’s kind of a grey area that we try to straddle, trying to be supportive and connect people to as many resources as they’ll take, and then also being respectful of the neighbors who live around there and their private property. It’s a delicate balance,” said Green.

Officers plan to return to the camp within the next few days to see if it has been vacated.

Additionally, Day-Achauer relayed that she has been seeing comments on a neighborhood social media site about residents hearing gunshots in the Galloway Ridge area.

“Our shot spotters will pick up 90 percent of shots that are fired and the second and third shift officers are the ones to circulate the area and it usually pinpoints pretty close to where they find shell casings of bullets,” said Bruce.

The officer said he would look into seeing if there is a shot spotter in the Galloway Ridge area and will see if any suspects or leads have been found regarding these instances.

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