Fourth Murder in Less than Week - Police Chief Makes a Statement

July 27, 2007

Columbus Police are investigating yet another murder - the fourth one in less than a week.

July has been a violent month in Columbus, with six people either wounded or killed by gunfire.

Four of the victims died, all within the last week, including a man shot early Friday morning.

Investigators have identified the victim as 39-year-old Ronald Worrell.

His body was found next to his car around 4:30 AM, in the 23-hundred block of 7th Street.

Worrell had been shot once in the chest.  Detectives are still collecting evidence, and have made no arrests.

A number of people are asking what the city is doing about all the recent violence.

Police Chief Ricky Boren says his office has been flooded with calls about the spike in crime and public safety concerns.

Friday, he announce the formation of a tactical squad called 'Project Safe Streets.'

Nineteen uniformed officers will hit the streets to curb the violence and drug activity we've seen recently.

Chief Boren says most of the murders and shootings can be attributed to drugs, and more violent individuals on the streets.

Boren adds, "We experience this from time to time, and it's all over the United States. Crime fluctuates -- and it'll go down, and it'll go up. At this point in time in our community, it's going up. And we intend to put a stop to it".

The second change involves the 911 call center.

From now on, any calls considered low-priority will be transferred to the report desk.

Officers will be at the report desk 24-7, so dispatchers can better handle the emergency calls.

Chief Boren wants to make it clear if anyone does need a police officer, one will be sent to them immediately.

News leader 9 got an e-mail Friday morning by Mayor Jim Wetherington, to a concerned citizen.

It says, "The Chief and I (Mayor Wetherington) met at 7:30 this morning talking about the course of action that we are taking dealing with the surge of crime happening in our city.... So many of these crimes are drug related."

As far as the officer shortage, they still have eight vacancies to fill.

And as soon as those are filled, Chief Boren says he'll ask the Mayor for more officers.