COLUMBIA - An 18-year-old Columbia man was shot Friday morning, just one day after the Columbia Police Department announced its new "Columbia Ceasefire Initiative" to stop violence in the city and surrounding areas.
The new police initiative aims at people associated with the recent violence, locking up criminals and their associates for even minor offenses. Columbia Police have compiled a list of names and photographs of about 100 people involved in recent shootings and homicides.
The Boone County Sheriff's Department is not partnered with the initiative, but will play a role in enforcing it.
"This is a problem that's been going on for quite some time and, quite frankly, just announcing the initiative isn't necessarily going to halt this type of activity. It's going to take a while to get this thing under control," Sheriff's Detective Thomas O'Sullivan said.
Columbia Police said the goal behind the initiative is to prevent further serious shootings or homicides by getting individuals associated with the crimes off the streets of Columbia. The initiative is being modeled after a Chicago police department's "Heat List" adopted from a Yale University sociologist. The findings state these "hot people" are far more likely, as a result of their social ties, to commit a violent crime or be a victim of a violent crime. The success rate after a month of implementing Chicago's program was a decrease of 40 percent in homicides in one district.
"I think one of the concepts of the initiative is the heat theory where you put pressure on the individuals that are engaging in these type of activities and you arrest them or you run them out of town," O'Sullivan said.
Residents on Santa Barbara Drive, where Friday morning's shooting occurred, said they don't believe the initiative will work. One resident who has lived in that neighborhood for 5 years said she thinks no one will talk to police because they would snitch and put themselves at risk for danger.
The resident said people involved in the crimes would talk, but would give police a biased story that keeps them out of trouble. The resident suggested that landlords check their properties more often because many times there are drug addicts and illegal activities happening in the homes. She said she sees new people all the time who are not residents committing these crimes.
O'Sullivan said the majority of suspects associated with these violence are teens and young adults.
"A lot of these situations that involve shots fired, 20 to 30 years ago you have fist fights, but now at the very least sign of disrespect or aggravation or irritation these individuals are pulling out guns and shooting people," O'Sullivan said.
Another resident suggests putting up surveillance cameras in communities to catch criminals.
Columbia Police officials did not return calls Friday to talk about the shooting and the new initiative.