Columbia Crime Numbers Show Small Increase
COLUMBIA - Crime in Columbia saw a small increase from 2010 to 2011 in two major areas. Crime statistics released by the Columbia Police Department show the number of total violent crimes and total property crimes have risen.
In 2010 there were 530 violent crimes in the city. Police consider rape, robbery, and aggravated assault to be violent crimes. In 2011 there were 582 violent crimes.
Columbia saw 3,816 property crimes in 2010. Police list burglaries, larcenies, and auto thefts as property crimes. Property crimes totaled at 4,263 in 2011.
KOMU caught up with Columbia residents to get their take on the crime increase.
"There's been a lot more shootings lately, and it's kind of scary," Columbia resident Emma Steele said.
"Just a couple years ago you never used to see this kind of hostility between groups. I don't know if it's racially motivated or group orientation. I just wish everybody would calm down," Columbia resident Dustin Gonnerman said.
"I don't feel any less safe here. I've always felt comfortable walking around Columbia. Hearing the statistic makes it a little scary. But again I never feel like I'm not safe here," Columbia resident Rachel Litzelfelner said.
"We live very close to downtown. And my children, who are of age, I come downtown all the time with their friends. I have no problem with crime in Columbia. I don't feel it," Columbia resident Susan Eggener said.
Police say there are a lot of variables that go into this crime increase. Two of those variables are the economy and the increasing population.
"We always look for trends to see why certain things happen. Some things are easily explained and some things aren't," Public Information Officer Latisha Stroer said.
Following an increase in shots fired incidents at the start of 2012, the Columbia Police Department formed a special team and made 42 arrests within a two week period.
"[The team] didn't respond to any calls from joint communications so they were able to do more for patrols, more interaction with the community," Stroer said.
But police say that having this type of team year round isn't realistic. Stroer added that a greater presence on their part could also help prevent crime.