A wave of package thefts has swept through communities in Columbus, Ohio, and now, area residents are turning to social media to unite and fight back against local thieves.
In the past month alone, 10TV News reports that there have been “too many [thefts] to count” within a two-mile radius of the Short North community of Columbus. Data shows dozens of reported thefts in the area, and at least nine residents of Short North have complained of recent burglaries, including Alexis Hansen, who was able to capture video of one of the thieves with her Ring Video Doorbell.
“Package theft has been an issue in this area, on and off, since we moved here,” said Alexis. “It makes the neighborhood a less nice place to live in.”
But Alexis and her neighbors aren’t letting the criminals put a damper on their typically quiet neighborhood. Instead, they’re using social media to bring attention to the crimes and restore peace of mind for their community.
A local Facebook page called “Short North Block Watch” has empowered their neighborhood, and with the help of local news and law enforcement, Columbus residents are now digitally fighting crime.
Alexis and her community are creating a new type of digital neighborhood watch. In the past, concerned citizens would meet up to discuss local issues and strategize ways to combat crime, but now, those same concerned citizens are taking the battle online, utilizing social networks and the local press to spread the word and fight back.
Alexis is already doing her part to help put an end to the crime spree, and she’s hoping more will follow in her footsteps. After her Ring Video Doorbell recorded a man stealing packages from her porch, Alexis turned to social media for help, posting the video on Nextdoor and the Short North Block Watch page. Local residents immediately recognized the suspect as a transient frequently spotted panhandling on Columbus streets, and the video was picked up and featured in local news reports.
Just a few days after the burglary, the suspect was arrested. And now, Alexis and her neighbors are working with detectives to build a case against the crook, using Alexis’ video as the key piece of evidence to put him behind bars.
While Columbus residents are relieved to find out about the suspect’s arrest, they know that their work isn’t done and that they still need to come together as a community and look after each other.
Said Rick Bloom, one of Alexis’ neighbors, “We kind of watch out for each other.”