Crime in Your Community: Survey Shows Many "Extremely" Worried

4 years 2 weeks 3 days ago Monday, November 25 2013 Nov 25, 2013 Monday, November 25, 2013 2:13:00 PM CST November 25, 2013 in News
By: Taylor Beck and Jake Lasofsky, KOMU 8 Digital Producers

COLUMBIA - In communities across the country, citizens voice concerns about crime, the economy and education. After reading through viewer comments on previous stories and the KOMU 8 News Facebook page, the station's digital team wanted to get a deeper understanding of the audience's community-related concerns. Results are shown in the graphs below.

The poll showed crime is the biggest concern for those in our mid-Missouri viewing area. The majority of respondents said they were very or extremely concerned with crime in their community.

Respondents rank crime as their key concern, followed by the economy, education, public policy and politics.

"Historically, the community has ranked crime or fear of crime or public safety as one of their top concerns," said Sgt.Joe Bernhard, a spokesman for the Columbia Police Department. "That's one one of the top concerns that they want from city government, so that would fall in the police department and other departments in the city."

The KOMU 8 News survey revealed nearly 30 percent of those who responded to the question are "extremely concerned" about crime in the community. Eleven of the 348 respondents said they are not concerned at all.

More than 80 percent of respondents said they were at least somewhat afraid of becoming a victim of a crime.

One respondent, a Columbia woman who identified herself as white and between the ages of 25-34, said she believes crime stems from a gang problem in the city.

"I feel like Columbia has a gang problem. I also think that the city is in complete denial over the issue, but it's too obvious to ignore now," she said.

Bernhard, however, said the department is focusing on specific issues.

"We are working very hard on crime issues and we are trying to use our resources as best we can to focus on the specific issues, you know, of violent crime and things like that. Over the spring and summer we had an increase in gun crime and violent crime so we are focusing our resources on that now whereas before that spike we were probably focusing more on property crimes, burglaries, larcenies, and things like that," Bernhard said.

In line with many respondents answers, Bernhard said drugs and alcohol play a large role with crime in the community.

"I don't have any statistics on that, but drugs and alcohol play a large part usually in all of our violent occurrences. I think it is a societal problem - drug and alcohol abuse - and there is not anything that the police can do. We can focus on it, to have a greater impact, but it takes a, you know, the community attention and focus to do that," Bernhard said.

Some respondents offered ideas of how to clean up crime in the area. One, who identified herself as an American Indian or Alaskan woman between 35 and 44 years old, said parents, schools, the juvenile office and police need to work together to fix the problem.

"Parents needs to take a stand and teach kids right from wrong and bring them up with morals, respect and discipline. The juvenile office also needs to step up and do more to the kids that are out of control. The schools need to be more involved as well with not only having your basic education but classes on learning respect, basic work ethics, self esteem and laws. The police also need to quit being scared of these so called gangs and do their job," she said.

One man, who identified himself as an African American, between 45 and 54 years old and from Columbia, said the community should "let the police be more aggressive in community policing in high-crime areas."

Another male respondent, who identified himself as a Columbia resident between 35 and 44 years old, said a simple solution would be more police.

"Our officers are over worked and tired, and that leads to mistakes. They also have a lot of ground to cover and people to protect. Population has risen, but the police force has stayed the same," he wrote.

KOMU 8 News reported in November that the Columbia Police Department is having a difficult time filling vacancies.

Some viewers have commented on the station's Facebook page saying crime is over-reported. But others said it is not covered enough. The survey asked respondents to take a side in that debate.

According to the results, most felt the media's coverage of crime was about where it should be. Bernhard said the media definitely play a role in how people feel about crime.

"I think that some media outlets are more balanced in their reporting and others are more sensationalistic. And I am not pointing a finger at any one of them, but it does seem there is a very instance of how it is reported," Bernhard said.

The Facebook comments led to the decision to poll viewers about their opinions on crime. A link was posted on the page and on KOMU.com, allowing viewers opportunity to participate. Such a survey is not considered scientific.

Most of the respondents said they come from Columbia, though results showed people from all over mid-Missouri participated. Out of the 347 responses, 259 said they lived in Columbia.

And of the 331 responders who identified with a gender, 187 selected female and 144 male. 

The ages of respondents varied, but 45 percent fell within the age range of 25-44 years old. About 17 percent were between the ages of 45-54 and 10 percent between 55-64. 

More than 85 percent of respondents identified themselves as "Non-Hispanic White," while just under 5 percent selected "Black or African American".

(This is the first of three parts in our Crime in Your Community series. Part Two is a map showing crime rates across mid-Missouri and in similar towns across the nation. Part Three is a timeline of major crime events in mid-Missouri throughout 2013 and be published Wednesday.)

Michelle Schuelke, Addison Walton, Lucas Geisler and Elaina O'Connell contributed to this report.

Related Stories

More News

Grid
List
NEVADA (AP) — Two inmates who were captured soon after breaking out of a western Missouri jail face new charges.... More >>
8 minutes ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 2:20:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Legislation for a primary seatbelt law has been filed by the Missouri House Transportation Committee chairman. This... More >>
1 hour ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 1:03:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in Top Stories
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Firefighters have found two bodies while battling a blaze in a Kansas City, Kansas, home.... More >>
2 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 11:53:16 AM CST December 12, 2017 in News
CARTHAGE (AP) — A former employee of a Carthage rehabilitation center was sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing... More >>
3 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 10:38:59 AM CST December 12, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Police found 23 individually vacuum-sealed plastic bags of marijuana on Monday in a package delivered by FedEx. ... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 10:22:00 AM CST December 12, 2017 in News
ST. JOSEPH (AP) — A Missouri woman has been charged in the drowning death of her 6-month-old son. The... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 9:54:03 AM CST December 12, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — An Illinois man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison in the fatal shooting of... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 9:43:49 AM CST December 12, 2017 in News
JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) — Janesville police say the victim of a homicide was stabbed at least 30 times. ... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 9:37:00 AM CST December 12, 2017 in News
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Fire crews have found a woman dead while putting out a fire in a suburban... More >>
5 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 9:28:02 AM CST December 12, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Board of Adjustment will hear from the public Tuesday morning about issuing a conditional... More >>
7 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 6:42:00 AM CST December 12, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - It's a topic that many people shy away from, but one man came to Columbia to talk about... More >>
18 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 8:25:00 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Terron Wings says he considers himself blessed he can now call himself an “American taxpayer.” Wings, 37,... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 7:27:27 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- A Special Olympics Missouri plan nearly a decade in the making could become a reality as soon as... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 7:12:00 PM CST December 11, 2017 in Sports
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Board of Education voted to approve ballot language for a $30 million bond issue Monday night... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 7:01:00 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – High winds and dry conditions warranted additional safety precautions for fire safety Monday in central Missouri. The... More >>
20 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 6:04:00 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
RENICK – The Beamer family was on the porch of their Randolph County home at the beginning of the storm... More >>
21 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 5:21:00 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
ROCHEPORT - Consolidated Water issued a boil order advisory for parts of Howard County Monday due to a water main... More >>
21 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 4:29:00 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
ORONOGO (AP) — Homeowners living near a gun range in southwest Missouri are concerned about stray bullets that have been... More >>
22 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 3:32:30 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 35°
3pm 35°
4pm 35°
5pm 33°
6pm 33°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

2:00p
The Dr. Oz Show
3:00p
Dr. Phil
4:00p
Jeopardy!
2:00p
Maury
3:00p
The Robert Irvine Show
4:00p
The Goldbergs

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Voice
8:00p
Gwen Stefani's You Make It Feel Like Christmas
9:00p
Chicago Med
7:00p
Greatest Holiday Commercials Countdown 2017
8:00p
The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld