By: Tyler Carter, WCMH, May 8, 2018
COLUMBUS (WCMH) - It has become a familiar scene, officers riding bicycles in Linden.
"When we ride around on the bikes we are more approachable to the citizens," said Officer Nate Hargus.
Officer Hargus has worked in Linden for six years. Last year he ditched his cruiser for a bike, taking part in the Linden Safe Streets Program. The program is aimed at taking a friendlier approach to patrolling the streets.
"The kids come up and try to race us. People sitting on the porch having a good day, we'll ride up to them and wave to them," said Hargus.
The program was designed for officers to get to know the people in the neighborhood and reduce gun violence. Organizers say it has proven to be a success.
"We've been able to produce quantifiable results that has led to a reduction of crime in the area specifically a 55-percent decrease in gun-related violence compared 2016," said Sargent Dana Hess.
Safe Street officers only answer to concerns reported by citizens.
"I can just wave right now they will be here. That's what we need, quick response," said Linden resident Marty Pyles.
Pyles owns a convenience store on Maize Road and sees the officers nearly every day.
"I haven't had to call for anything bad but just for some minor things and they are always here," said Pyles.
Community outreach and officer visibility -- getting this community the answers they want and fulfilling their need to make a change.
"They want a better way of life and we can provide that with some aspects of other departments in the city," said Hargus.