The Ohio State University will invest an additional $2 million per year over the next decade to enhance safety and security on and around campus, President Kristina M. Johnson and Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther announced Sept. 24. The additional investment is expected to be at least $20 million, and the university’s total safety and security budget will grow to an expected $23.5 million each year.
According to Ohio State News, the announcement comes after an increase in gun violence in Columbus.
“We are all committed to working hand-in-hand until this problem is solved in our community and our city,” Johnson said.
Ohio State issued a neighborhood safety notice the morning of the announcement after police responded to a home near Tuller Street and Woodruff Avenue, following a report of someone discharging a firearm near a home. Johnson and Ginther said gun violence in the city must stop.
Ginther pointed to a shooting in Columbus the previous night where a 12- and 16-year-old were injured. He said these violent crimes are more than statistics.
“These incidents of violence have become all too familiar, but they remain just as tragic, devastating, infuriating, and unacceptable as ever,” Ginther said. “Safety in all of our neighborhoods is my top priority. We will continue working closely with our partners at Ohio State around the clock to help prevent crime and hold those who commit crimes accountable.”
The additional funding is part of a continuing effort to enhance safety in the university community. Since the tragic shooting death of Ohio State student Chase Meola last year, the university has invested more than $1 million in safety measures.
“It is not enough. We must do more,” Johnson said.
The additional funding begins immediately and is dedicated to the following enhancements:
- Immediately expanding by an order of magnitude off-campus security, including by using additional private security, as well as continuing support for Community Crime Patrol. This increased security will include additional campus service officers, who will immediately expand their patrols into the University District.
- Adding additional mobile lighting and at least another 10 mobile camera systems to saturate the area where Ohio State students live.
- Extending the Lyft Ride Smart program on High Street to include getting students to and from the Short North area.
- Continuing to recruit and train additional Ohio State Police Department officers. Four new officers were recently sworn in to increase joint patrol coverage off campus.
Johnson also directed Ohio State’s public safety team to engage an external safety expert to examine the effectiveness of the university’s expanded approach to off-campus safety in partnership with the city of Columbus.
“There is nothing I take more seriously than student safety. Our students’ safety is number one and it always will be,” Johnson said. “I will not rest until this is solved.”