Columbus working on spring break initiative to keep students safe

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Columbus is kicking off a Spring Break Safety Initiative to help keep students safe while they're out of the classroom (WSYX/WTTE)

Columbus police have been busy since the beginning of the year. There have been 33 homicides so far in 2017. At this point last year, there had been 25.

The combination of warmer weather and spring break for city students has city leaders coming up with a plan to keep them safe.

"Our collective job as a city and community is to make sure that our young people are safe,” said Columbus Mayor Andy Ginther.

The plan to keep them safe includes extended hours at community centers and a series of special programs offered by the school district and other organizations. Mayor Ginther says the people helping to keep them safe will be Columbus' finest, "there will be an increased police presence where students are."

According to the city, a list of available activities can be found at

For young people, the alternative to the programs the mayor announced would be found on the street. Something that concerns parent Tyrone Dillon, "I'm trying to keep them away from the streets. I don't want the streets to have my kids. Once these streets get them it's a wrap."

The city's plans come at a time when Columbus is recording more homicides in 2017 than the previous two years. One of the them is Charles Staten. He died after being shot Friday outside the Brothers Food Mart on the 17 hundred block of Parson's Avenue in south Columbus, "I'm just tired of it man, he didn't deserve that,” said Staten’s friend Tyrone Dillon.

A small vigil marks the spot where the 38 year olds body was found. Dillon knew him for 30 years, "All around standup guy basically. Family man that took care of his business. Stayed out of trouble." Police say they don’t have a suspect in Staten’s death.

Signs of more violence Monday, when police made the grisly discovery of a body inside this SUV on the east side, "they've been murdered. We don't know if it's a male or female right now. When we find out the identity of the body we have some potential persons of interest we're going to look at,” said Columbus Police Sergeant David Sicilian. Investigators say police discovered the body around 2:30 Monday afternoon on the 1800 block of Gault Street. Detectives say the body was covered and they weren’t able to immediately identify the body. Police believe the victim was the target of the crime and don’t believe the public is in danger.

Dillon is just fed up with the violence, "it's getting out of control. It's getting out of control."

Anyone with information on the murder investigations on the south or east sides, are asked to contact Columbus Police.