Police work with community members to eliminate gang threats

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Recent talk of gangs and retaliation surrounding the Champion Avenue murder scene from a few weeks ago raises questions on gang activity.

Sgt. Rich Weiner of Columbus Police tells NBC4 Columbus deals with several issues common to big cities.

“We have a criminal intelligence unit tasked with gathering intelligence, (and) dealing with them in some cases. We are not a secret organization,” Sgt. Weiner said.

Instead, they focus on working not only with community members, but sometimes directly with organized criminal units.

In Weinland Park, they worked hard as they dealt with gang activity.

“There were times when no one wanted to bring up the Short North Posse, people got upset by it,” Brandyn McElroy, President of the Weinland Park Civic Association said.

Weinland Park wants to prove it has worked hard to make things better. They worked on transforming the neighborhood, putting some effort into the housing stock to get people to move in, and working with police on cameras to drive that criminal element out. It was not perfect, but when it comes to gangs they have seen a significant improvement.

McElroy said the community has been able to hold more community-friendly events.

“To let your children outside, to invite people into the city, to have a volunteer day, a nursery in the area, instead of dealing with another shooting every day,” McElroy said.

Police intelligence officers are constantly talking with community members and patrol officers, to find out what’s going on in the communities they serve.

“We see that, follow it, and bust them,” Sgt. Weiner said.

And when communities get it right, you really start to see an improvement in the neighborhoods.

“Weinland Park, it is a success story,” Weiner said. “You have officers and people who live in the neighborhood who are invested.”

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