Ohio State University: Buckeye Block Watch program to add new eyes, ears to University District

Ohio State is launching a new program as part of a holistic approach to safety and security resources for students, staff, faculty and visitors.

This week marks the start of Buckeye Block Watch, which promotes a safe and welcoming University District.

Members of Buckeye Block Watch will patrol the off-campus community and offer resources and information while reporting suspicious activity. They are not sworn law enforcement officers and will not have arrest powers or carry firearms. These Buckeye Block Watch patrols are separate and distinct from the Ohio State University Police Division, Columbus Division of Police, and the non-sworn security patrols Ohio State has in place using Campus Service Officers or private security firms. They will act as eyes and ears for safety concerns.

Buckeye Block Watch members are given extensive training in how to deal with difficult situations and learn best practices for public engagement, including mental health responses, first aid and CPR.

Training also includes information specific to the University District, including most traveled routes and popular locations in the neighborhood. They will be responsible for recording streetlight outages and other environmental concerns, too.

“We are deploying every tool at our disposal to enhance safety both on and off campus,” said President Kristina M. Johnson. “Buckeye Block Watch is the latest in a wide range of proactive security measures, and one that will engage members of the community to help bolster more traditional approaches that are helping to protect Ohio State students, faculty and staff, as well as long-term neighborhood residents.”

Buckeye Block Watch utilizes the resources of our existing partner, Community Crime Patrol, and adds a partnership with the Block by Block organization. Ohio State will provide patrols in the neighborhood on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Additional coverage will be added on home football game days.

This initiative encourages University District residents to play a role in getting to know one another and look out for each other.

Patrols will be on foot, on bikes and in a Buckeye Block Watch vehicle. They will be highly visible in the community and will be seeking to speak with students and community members.

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