Columbia resident wants more street lights to prevent crime

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COLUMBIA - The Central Ridgeway Neighborhood is an area the city wants to improve, and one member of the community had a suggestion for the city at Monday night's city council meeting. Heather Morgan is a Columbia resident, and spoke to council members about the need to update the street lights on one street inside the neighborhood to help prevent crime.

There are 10 utility poles on Benton Street in the Central Ridgeway Neighborhood, but there are only five poles with street lights. Of those five poles, two of the lights are up to date and three of the lights are old and in poor condition.

Morgan referenced multiple occasions where suspicious activity occurred on the street. She says there is a dark spot at night that suspicious vehicles often hang out in, and she described multiple instances of break ins. 

"When I had moved in I had been speaking with some of my neighbors and they mentioned that some of their cars had been broken into and that we should make sure we lock our windows and what not. I then spoke with my next store neighbor and she said her boyfriend's stereo had been stolen from his car," Morgan said.

Later in the evening she noticed a suspicious vehicle outside her house on the street.

"I noticed a suspicious car parked outside of my house and I went outside to wave and maybe they were lost and they needed some help. Then they drove away, and then they came back," Morgan said.

She reached out to the police department and was told there was indeed a dark spot on the street and there probably was some crime happening because of it.

Morgan reviewed the city budget and says there appears to be money available for more street lights, and Benton Street would be a perfect place to add them.

The city hosted a Strategic Plan Community Meeting at the St. Luke United Methodist Church this past June to gain a better perspective of the community. The Central Ridgeway Neighborhood is one of three areas in Columbia the city is focusing on addressing the social and economic disparity among white and black residents.

The city council did not take any action on the matter on Monday evening, but Mayor Brian Treece said the issue will come up at a later meeting when the appropriate recommendations have been made by the city.

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