Heidi Samuel for Columbus Neighborhoods
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OSU alumna runs for City Council on anti-crime platform

By: Candace Adrian
The Lantern

An Ohio State graduate is running for Columbus City Council on an anti-crime platform and hopes to get more law enforcement in the campus neighborhood and around the city.

Heidi Samuel, who graduated with a bachelor's in history, campaigned on campus Wednesday night and talked to residents about crime in the area.

"I believe we need to get back to the basics in terms of protecting, preserving and improving our neighborhoods," said Samuel, a community activist and political novice.

Her democrat opponent, Priscilla Tyson, was appointed to the position last January after Councilwoman Mary Jo Hudson resigned.

Since graduating from OSU, she has served as the president of the Eastmoor Civic Association and Blockwatch and is current Chair of their Economic Development committee.

Samuel said she will strongly address the fact that Columbus is ranked 9th in the Top 10 Most Dangerous Large Cities List, according to current FBI statistics, which is a list compiled of 32 cities with populations of 500,000 or more.

She has set a 2012 goal for Columbus to be one of the top 10 safest cities in the nation.

Her plan has gained support from the Columbus Division of Police, which has given her its endorsement.

Samuel said the student neighborhood located east of campus is a dense area that is one of the most dangerous in the city.

"Campus is obviously a Columbus neighborhood like everywhere else," she said. "In my experience, you feel like you're in a bubble on campus, but it really is part of the city."

She said she attributes campus' increasing crime rates within the last year to the lack of law enforcement.

"The university administration understands that students need to feel safe," said Samuel, a mother of two. "You've got great tools here and an administration actively advocating public safety, but when we are down 403 officers in the city, that's a problem."

Not only is public safety one of her main concerns, she said, but also the deterioration of the city's infrastructure.

"I'm looking at the (broken) curbs and graffiti. Decay is not by chance; it is because we are down enforcement," she said while standing on the corner of Northwood Avenue and North High Street.

If the city does not have a healthy environment that keeps jobs here, Samuel believes businesses and corporations will leave and students will follow after graduation.

She feels one solution is to build a stronger police presence and increase the budget through various resources.

Samuel grew up in Kobe, Japan and Beijing, China and came to OSU more than 15 years ago when her father took a job as a professor here.

While here, Samuel was an Ohio Welcome Leader, as well as resident advisors in both Steeb and Smith Halls.

Although she admits this is her first try at politics, she is eager to help improve the city's neighborhoods so that citizens feel safe and do not feel the need to move away.

Samuel said the most convenient way for students to vote in the election this November is to visit the Franklin County Board of Elections Web site at franklincountyohio.gov and request an absentee ballot.




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