“There’s a sweet spot between where we started and where we are now, and I think we’ve passed it,” said Jack Decker, president of the Short North Civic Association.
COLUMBUS, OH – Short North microdistrict often referred to as the vibrant arts center of Columbus. But this vibrant community has a dark side: a complicated history with crime.
Filled with lively restaurants and bars, this area gets its name from the police.
“Certainly in 1980 when I moved here, the High Street corridor was very distressed and crime-ridden,” said Jack Decker, president of the Short North Civic Association.
He remembers 40 years ago when the Short North was a place where drivers locked their doors and hit the gas pedal.
Police dispatchers began using the term Short North because it was north of downtown and close to the university district surrounding Ohio State University.
It was a squatter area plagued by street crime and gang violence. And the word “gang” was synonymous with the Short Northern Posse.
This group ruled the street scene in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Its headquarters were at North Fourth Street and East Eighth Avenue, which was once known as the most dangerous corner of the city. Numerous murder cases and drug investigations have been linked to this group.
But then repressions and arrests began. Federal authorities have opened cases against at least 20 members of the group.
“I’m comfortable saying we cut off the head,” prosecutor David Devillers told 10TV back in 2016. The prosecutor’s office finished this work in 2017.
While the police worked to squeeze out criminals, new businesses worked to change the narrative. The Short North Tavern was the first to use the area’s name in 1981. The jump in the gallery has begun. And the opening of Rigsby’s Kitchen in 1986 is known as a key moment in the revival of the Short North.
A quick drive down the High Street today shows the influence of immense creativity and commerce. But you’ll also notice that Rigsby’s Kitchen has closed – replaced by a new business. And massive residential complexes, bars and restaurants are located where artists used to make a living.
“There’s a sweet spot between where we started and where we are now, and I think we’ve passed it,” Decker said.
And with gunfire interrupting the night’s party, old questions about safety become new again.
“I think that over the last 15 years we’ve had an overwhelming bar and restaurant nation, that’s a negative development,” Decker said. “It correlates with the problems we saw Friday night into Saturday morning.”
Decker said the community should ask bars and restaurants to close earlier.
10TV approached the Short North Alliance with the idea. The group consists of business and real estate owners in the Short North.
“The gun violence we’re seeing in neighborhoods across Columbus is a complex crisis that requires multifaceted solutions. While there are no quick fixes, we understand the immediate need to protect what makes the Short North vibrant, creative and inclusive. risks of night-time violence.”