Fewer Employees Means More Crime Opportunities
COLUMBIA - Columbia gas stations and the Columbia Police Department share the same problem of being short-staffed. Gas stations continue to deal with robberies while the police force is drawn thin responding to crimes constantly occurring at them.
Along a two mile stretch of Paris Road, four gas stations were robbed in less than eight months.
One worker at the Shell station told KOMU 8 News the store had been robbed the night before. However, the next day the store manager rejected the claim and refused to speak about the situation on camera.
The Shell station employs only one person overnight. The store has been robbed five times, but neither the manager nor the corporate office will hire more employees for late night hours.
The Midwest station down the street only employs one person at night as well. This location made the decision to close at 10 p.m. instead of two o'clock in the morning to limit criminal activity.
The police department also needs more officers on staff. The city was only able to hire three new police officers this year due to budget restraints.
Mayor Bob McDavid addressed the city of Columbia in August about crime rates and concerns. He said the current number of police officers is a sign of an undersized police department.
"Officers, in or on the street, spend all of their time answering calls. They're going from one call to another and because of that, they're not available, they're not on the street and they don't have the presence," McDavid said.