"Put the guns down," Mayor Coleman says
By Felix Hoover
For Your News Columbus
July 23, 2010
With the city on a record pace for local homicides, Mayor Michael B.Coleman announced a two-pronged plan to deal with youth violence.
The need for intense city action was prompted by a recent rash of homicides that have brought the total to 61 for the years.
The first response category deals with enforcement, and the second, with community engagement.
The enforcement part will involve community response teams that will have visible and undercover presence in hot spots of criminal activity, Coleman said.
His message to the public is clear on the second score, “Put the guns down.”
Coleman said that violence tends to be cyclical, and regardless of why it’s on the rise, certain things can be done to curtail it.
Fighting an increase in violence isn’t something that solely for the police to handle.
“This is an issue that must engage everyone in our community,” Coleman said. ”Nobody gets off the hook here.”
It’s essential that people who know of criminal activity and potential violent situations to report them to police, so appropriate action can be taken. To do otherwise only allows the problem to fester.
He called on the news media to help by reinstituting nightly minders about curfews for children.
Such announcements must be followed with action at home.
“Parents, I need you to make sure your children are in by curfew,” Coleman said.
The city has many anti-violence programs in place, but needs to coordinate them Coleman said.
Some interest have been expressed in implementing an effort similar to the Cease Fire program that’s shown success in Chicago and elsewhere.
Police Chief Walter Distelzweig was among several city officials who stood with the mayor during today’s news conference in City Hall.
Even though he wouldn’t disclose where the hot-spots are and when officers will move into those areas, “You will know when this starts,” he said.