Crime Will Continue to Rise in Columbus Until There Are Real Consequences
COLUMBUS, OH – WBNS TV recently aired a story about the cries of the mother of a teenager who was involved in several car thefts in the last few months. They showed her “begging and pleading” with legal and elected authorities to “please arrest him, lock him up, do something that's going to make him pay for the things that he's out here doing.”
While attending a Bronzeville neighborhood meeting at the East Broad Street Presbyterian Church last year, the neighborhood district’s Columbus Police Commander presented a crime report and was expected to answer questions. When asked a question about young people’s involvement in car thefts and gangs, the Commander’s response was similar to the mother who was interviewed by WBNS TV. The Commander reported that a teenager’s parent from the neighborhood also told him that she wanted her son to be locked up because she feared that he would be killed in the streets.
Judges and prosecutors must respect the efforts of our police department and the public’s safety in order to curb crime and apply appropriate consequences. If youth will face consequences of serving time in juvenile detention, we must do everything we can to provide them with the necessary resources to help them lead productive lives when they are released. We need a comprehensive public safety plan that extends beyond the police, jail, and incarceration. At the same time, our laws must be enforced. That includes non-violent offenses. We must be both smarter and tougher on crime. Andy Ginther’s alternatively false and empty words always miss the basic points.
Many families’ struggles are generational. Many parents of the young who commit these crimes have been denied adequate investments into their own lives and their children have watched them suffer, as well as suffer further themselves. These children and adolescents witness their parents’ struggles and therefore see no future for themselves. They don’t feel valued. It is not surprising that some of them resort to crime for a living.
The mayor must be the face of change. They must prioritize people and neighborhoods and accept direct responsibility instead of blaming Statehouse politics and anyone else for out-of-control crime issues. If we want a thriving, safe city, we cannot ignore those with the least resources. We must address poverty, public education, systemic racism, homelessness, affordable housing and workplace development in direct relationship to each other. And now.
The usual boilerplate campaign rhetoric and promises about reducing crime that come from the lips of Andy Ginther during an election year, will not get the job done. History in Columbus regularly repeats itself. After election day, Ginther’s policies and priorities always remain the same. That is: Protecting and enhancing the investments of the rich and powerful over people, safety, and neighborhoods.