South Linden residents working in Civilian Safety Patrol

Columbus is starting a Civilian Safety Patrol program in South Linden, similar to what Cincinnati has had since 1997 (WSYX/WTTE)

Neighbors in South Linden could soon be walking the beat to help reduce crime with Police as part of a new Civilian Safety Patrol. Mayor Andy Ginther announced the creation of the volunteer patrol pilot program during Thursday's state of the state address.

A similar crime fighting tool has been used in Cincinnati since 1997.

"We don't have kids standing on the corner selling drugs, like they used to," said Jim Bodmer, who has been walking the streets of his College Hill neighborhood since 2000.

"It takes awhile, it's a commitment," he said.

For two decades, volunteers have been connected to Cincinnati Police with radios, making the rounds of public parks and neighborhoods on the lookout for suspicious activity.

"They are our ears and eyes," said Cincinnati SGT. Eric Franz, "they can get us intelligence we can't get in a police car."

But long-time volunteer Amos Robinson, says not everyone's cut out for the job.

"Don't be afraid, if you are, forget about it, it's a waste of time," he said.

Bodmer and Robinson both say patrols need to have a good working relationship with police, who are there for them whenever they are needed.

"We had some good men and women who trained us, who taught us what to look for and to do things,"

Columbus officials say no specific time has been set for when the pilot program will begin in South Linden, and that volunteers will be thoroughly trained by Columbus Police and receive radios and vests before hitting they streets.

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