In Linden, a call for change and for understanding between police and neighbors

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Tina Phillips has called the South Linden neighborhood home for 35 years, but she said it’s no longer the place it once was.

“It’s just a shame the amount of crime that seems to be on the rise and it seems to be getting worse,” Phillips said.

Phillips was among dozens of people who came out to the Linden Community Recreation Center Thursday night to meet with Columbus police about issues in their communities.

At the meeting, tables and chairs were set up, with a couple of officers and neighbors at each.

“I believe that it builds trust,” Chief Kim Jacobs said. “I believe that it builds rapport and builds understanding.”

Jacobs said in order for police to do their jobs effectively, they need the help of the public. But they also want to address concerns of the people they serve.

“That’s information about who’s carrying weapons illegally, that’s information about who’s threatened somebody lately,” Jacobs said.

linden meetingThomas Paige brought his two young daughters, Michelle and MaKenzie, to the meeting. He doesn’t live in Linden, but he said police-community relations are important to him.

“What worries me as a dad is we don’t have meetings like this and we don’t have community events like that where we have a chance to talk to the police,” Paige said. “People that feel oppressed aren’t getting a voice or they’re not feeling like they’re heard.”

Paige also expressed concern about police misconduct.

“Doesn’t matter that I’m college-educated, that my mother is a doctor,” Paige said. “A lot of times, especially now that I’m growing my hair out and stuff, I’m viewed the same way and I don’t even have a chance to express or explain myself before I’m approached.”

Chief Jacobs said Columbus police do about 300 community events per month, but she noted sometimes people don’t hear about them.

She also said she understands not everyone will come to the meetings and that she hopes people who do come will be ambassadors for their neighbors.

For Tina Phillips and many others, the goal is simple.

“Just to help them make South Linden just a better place to live,” Phillips said. “A place where people want to live.”

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