COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) – Columbiana is bringing the “HEAT.”
It’s a crime-fighting program that combines citizen support and participation with criminal intelligence.
Columbiana has a low crime rate and wants to keep it that way.
Police Chief Tim Gladis started the HEAT program, which for Hometown Enforcement Against Trafficking. It targets specific activity and behavior of criminals.
“We want criminals to know that it is very difficult to operate in the city of Columbiana. There is a high likelihood of being detected or caught because people call the police quickly here,” Gladis said.
HEAT guards against three types of criminal activity: Drug trafficking, human trafficking and stolen goods trafficking.
Columbiana has all officers constantly looking for criminal activity, plus a specialized unit which focuses on continual and repeat offenders.
“We’re hired to do a job by our community, which is to protect it. We’re going to do the best we can. If that means enforcing it through traffic and whatever else we can, that is what we are going to do,” said Officer Jen Calko.
The program started collecting data around Christmas to find where people and places intersect for the crime that was happening in Columbiana. It’s already showing signs of success.
“We’ve heard from criminals themselves that when they come to a neighborhood, people call in in a couple minutes and police are showing up, Gladis said. “That’s the message. You are going to get a rapid response, and you’re going to get caught and detected here.”
Columbiana has 17 police officers. The village hopes to add a K-9 officer this year, which can detect some things like drugs, better than a human. They’ve already raised about 50 percent of the funds needed to add the K-9 to the force.