Urbancrest trying to crack down on crime


Fed up with the rise in criminal activity, the village of Urbancrest has been working hard to put an end to the unwanted vagrancy.

In September, a community forum was held for residents to voice their concerns to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and to give ideas to the village council on what they want to see done to end the crime.

There were two popular ideas; one was to hire private policing for Urbancrest and the other was to establish a neighborhood watch. While the first option is still being researched, the village is well on their way to implementing its own block watch.

On Nov. 5, there was a second meeting for the public in regards to the watch, with the sheriff’s office imploring them to become active participants when it is officially enacted.

"The key for a successful block watch to help reduce crime is communication," said Cpl. Zachary Scott. "The community has got to communicate with each other and look out for each other.

"If everyone becomes little islands of isolation, it is not going to work."

The sheriff’s office recommended the Urbancrest neighborhood watch be divided up into quadrants or sections where the community would appoint a captain for each watch area.

A watch captain would advertise meetings and lead the discussions, coordinate information with the law enforcement liaison, recruit new members and update phone trees. A phone tree is network that allows members to pass along information to local law enforcement and to the other residents in their quadrant in a timely fashion.

"This will also help the neighbors get to know each other," Scott said. "Getting to know the people who live around you is another way to make the community safer."

He also encouraged residents to get to know the officers who patrol in the area when a younger resident said he felt he was being unfairly harassed by law enforcement while walking in the neighborhood.

Urbancrest Mayor Joseph Barnes Sr. said he too has been pulled over twice but there is "nothing wrong with explaining who you are to the officers and telling them where you live."

He explained that telling the law enforcement officers you are a resident of the village is important as they are looking for people who do not belong in the area.

"In the past few months, there have been well over 71 arrests of people who don’t live in the village," Barnes said. "There have been arrests of people who come from London, Circleville and other cities to do crime in our area."

He stated that while the initial stages of cleaning up the area via increased vigilance will be an inconvenience at times, it is necessary because he knows the community would rather be inconvenienced than to lose someone they care about due to crime.




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