Eastmoor businesses launch block watch for Main, Broad
by John Matuszak, Eastside Editor - October 20, 2007
Eastmoor area businesses are ready to launch their own block
watch, to share information and deter crime as part of a larger
effort to revitalize Main and Broad streets.
At an Oct. 16 meeting sponsored by the Eastmoor Civic Association,
Brent Howard and Cyndi Crist, of Wallace F. Ackley Company
Real Estate on Main Street, and Joe Conte, of Hampton Court
Apartments on Broad Street, volunteered to be captains of the
According to Heidi Samuel, economic development director of
the Eastmoor Civic Association, preliminary survey results
show that business owners in the neighborhood see crime as
a growing concern and that it can drive away customers and
discourage reputable businesses from locating in the area.
About a dozen business owners, out of around 135, attended
the morning meeting.
But it doesn't matter if the effort starts out small, commented
Ellen Peterson, outgoing president of the civic association
and chairwoman of the residential block watch.
The association that represents 1,000 residents started in
someone's living room with six people, she remembered.
The Eastmoor Civic Association has been successful in enlisting
the Columbus Department of Development in setting the groundwork
for commercial redevelopment, and banded together with other
groups to board up crime-plagued Motel One.
"If we are united, we can make a statement, and partner with the police
to make the neighborhood safe and secure," Peterson said. "If
we are united, we can send a message to the criminal element that you're not
And that message will spread, promised Officer Jarrod James,
the liaison officer for the 9th Precinct.
"Criminals do talk to each other, and they'd rather go where it's easy
pickins," James said. "They're not the brightest people, but they're
The key element of the block watch will be an email chain to
alert business owners of suspicious activity, loitering, vandalism
or other crimes that have occurred, Peterson said.
She recalled being robbed while working at a Short North shop, and
how the owner had a description and the details of the crime
out on the web within hours, as a precaution to other merchants
and a lead for law enforcement.
"You feel more secure when you know you're not alone," Peterson said.
The block watch captains will be responsible for the email
links, and will communicate with the liaison officer, who can
in turn inform other police divisions about problem spots.
"If you get the information to me, I can get it to where it needs to go," such
as vice or narcotics squads, James said.
Participating businesses will also be given large, colorful
signs that will alert troublemakers - and customers - that
the owners are on the job to keep the area crime-free.
The residential block watch has similar signs for homes, and
they are a deterrent to crime, Peterson said. "Burglars
don't like to see this."
The Eastmoor effort has been spurred by the success of Bexley
and Whitehall in developing their areas of Main Street.
Howard has a connection with all three neighborhoods. He is
a Bexley native with a business in Eastmoor, and he is president
of Whitehall City Council.
His business has also been a crime victim when its garage was
broken into, giving him an added interest in preventing further
Samuel pointed out that the block watch is part of the larger
attempt at revitalization. She is working on a committee addressing
business retention and attraction, and Gayle Worthington, of
Peacekeepers block watch, is working on code enforcement issues.
Next spring the neighborhood advocates will be working on design
and aesthetics, possibly seeking grants for upgraded lighting.
Samuel noted at the meeting that the look of the area is also
a concern for business owners.
The civic association is still collecting responses from the
survey sent to business owners.
The next meeting will be held Nov. 13 at 8:30 a.m. at Wing's
restaurant, 2801 E. Main St.
Main Street business owners interested in participating in
the block watch can contact Brent Howard or Cyndi Crist at
231-3661, or by emailing to email@example.com.
Broad Street business owners can contact Joe Conte at 236-0796
or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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