Recycling and crime were two hot topics at Mayor Teresa Tomlinson’s second quarterly forum of 2016 Tuesday evening at North Highland Assembly of God Church.
About 100 people gathered there to address Tomlinson and other city leaders about their concerns.
Ashok Kumer said he is concerned about recent burglaries in Green Island Hills and asked if police patrols could be increased.
“These break-ins happen in the daytime when they know people are at work. They come to the front door and knock and if nobody answers, they go to the back and kick the door open,” Kumer said. “Police do respond, but that is after the fact. We would like more patrols, to be more visible and deter these things from happening.”
Assistant Police Chief Lem Miller said there are several aspects to any city’s crime problems.
“Unfortunately, property crimes seem to be the biggest issue not only in this neighborhood but in the entire city,” Miller said. “The police department isn’t the only cog in the wheel. You have the courts and corrections also. It’s unfortunate, but I think you’re going to see that the people getting incarcerated the most are those with violent crimes. A property crime, unfortunately, is not considered a violent crime.”
Miller said he would look into increasing the frequency of patrols in Green Island.
Darryl Ellis, also of Green Island, asked if there is anything home owners can do to protect themselves and also help the police do their jobs.
Maj. J.D. Hawk suggested ways to strengthen doors and door jambs so that they are much harder to kick open.
“I’ve kicked in drug house doors most of my life and I can’t kick these (reinforced) doors in,” Hawk said. “We had trouble kicking them in with a battering ram.”
Miller added that with money Columbus Council has appropriated for the department’s Intelligence Led Policing program, he hopes to see an increase in burglary arrests and a reduction in the number of break-ins.
Todd Phillips expressed concern about the city’s recent decision to stop recycling glass, instead routing it to the city’s landfill.
Public Works Director Pat Biegler said there is no longer a market for recycled glass, making it practically impossisble to get rid of it.
“There was a firm that we’ve been working with that comes down from Atlanta periodically,” Biegler said. “Because there’s just no market for it, lately they’ve just been refusing to come.”
Another thing driving the dec ision is the fact that the city has bought new landfill compactors which reduce glass to a powder, making it more practical to put it there, Tomlinson said.
Other topics citizens raised during the hour-and-a-half forum included redevelopment districts, the property tax assessment freeze, Booker T. Washington Apartments and animal control.