Increased crime downtown follows spike in student population

5 years 4 weeks 9 hours ago Friday, November 07 2014 Nov 7, 2014 Friday, November 07, 2014 3:09:00 PM CST November 07, 2014 in News
By: Amanda LaBrot, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - According to data from the Columbia Police Department, crime in downtown Columbia has increased every year since 2010, and a department official said he thinks having more students downtown has played a role.

Columbia's total population increased by 7,229 from 2010 to 2013. In the same time period, MU has seen record high student enrollment. Three major student housing complexes have gone up around the downtown area where crime has spiked.


So far this year, there have been more than 7,250 crimes committed downtown.

CPD crime analyst Jerry East said it is very centralized around the bar district, and has been for the past several years. The majority of CPD's disturbance calls come from this area.

Police Lieutenant Krista Shouse-Jones said the department does have a special focus on downtown.

"We're very mindful of our downtown being a growing area, and that's why we have officers specifically assigned down there just to deal with issues that do arise from having a large number of people in a relatively small area of space, " she said.

Jesse Garcia, the owner of Roxy's on Broadway, said he has noticed more inebriated students out at night.

"What I see most with population increase is zombified kids walking everywhere," Garcia said. "Before they had downtown student housing the way they did, after the party was over, they went home, they left downtown and it was over then. Now, there's more people all the time and they don't have anywhere else to go. They walk home and they stay here."

Garcia has worked downtown in different bars and music venues for 15 years, and said he has noticed increased crime.

"I think crime in Columbia overall has gotten to an out of control state," Garcia said. "I moved here in 99, and I don't know if we have any more officers on the street than we did back then."

He said he sees more "pranky college kid stuff" than violent crime stemming from the influx of young residents.

"More intoxicated kids walking around is a bit more of a learning curve," Garcia said. "You see some pretty silly stuff. I think I saw a stop sign put in the middle of the road one night. So there's those kinds of silly things are going on."

Bill Cantin, Neighborhood Communications Coordinator for the city, handles graffiti clean up downtown, and said it's typically younger residents doing the spray painting.

"It's more just your typical, just tagging," Cantin said. "Your average, college-aged white male is usually the stereotypical person who does graffiti."

East also said with more residents and housing, there are more opportunities to break into cars and apartments. He said the CPD has recently collected more calls and reports about larceny and burglary from unlocked cars and apartments simply because it's more convenient to commit those crimes.

"I think any time that you have the population density of an area increase, you're going to have more activities of every kind," Shouse-Jones said. "Whether that be foot traffic, vehicle traffic or business in some respects. Crime can sometimes go along with that."

Garcia said having officers physically walking in the downtown area at night, when more people are in the bar district, is the most effective way to stop and deter crime.

"The best it's ever been is when there's cops on the beat walking, let me specifically say walking," Garcia said. "When they make their presence known by walking around the streets on a regular beat, they get to know the people that are down there. They get to know the business owners and the trouble makers, and when they walk by, people are less likely to do anything stupid. When they drive by, it's out of sight out of mind. They know a cop's just going to pass by real quick, but they're also less likely to see the trouble that's happening."

"We try to maximize foot patrols as much as we can because we realize that's the most visible form of kind of patrol we can do in an area like downtown," Shouse-Jones said. "And the other part of that is that officers are more approachable when they're on foot."

As far as business goes, Garcia said the increase in downtown population has been fantastic.

"My bar is growing exponentially at the moment and I feel like a lot of the businesses - downtown restaurants, hotels, everything - are going to benefit from having so many people," Garcia said. "I've already seen the increase. I think it's overall good for the area to have the people down here, but the city is going to have to pony up their part as well. The police department needs better reactions to the crime we do have."

Related Stories

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Soon, every fifth grader in Boone County will have the opportunity to learn math, history, language arts and... More >>
1 hour ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 3:44:00 AM CST December 06, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Last winter saw major snow storms, ice, and extreme cold. This winter could see similar systems, however, the... More >>
8 hours ago Thursday, December 05 2019 Dec 5, 2019 Thursday, December 05, 2019 9:00:00 PM CST December 05, 2019 in Weather
COLUMBIA - Winter weather is often attacked in an attempt to prove climate change and global warming are not real.... More >>
9 hours ago Thursday, December 05 2019 Dec 5, 2019 Thursday, December 05, 2019 8:25:00 PM CST December 05, 2019 in Weather
COLUMBIA - While most of us use the weather forecast in order to plan our own day, some people need... More >>
9 hours ago Thursday, December 05 2019 Dec 5, 2019 Thursday, December 05, 2019 7:56:00 PM CST December 05, 2019 in Weather
COLUMBIA - Another recreational complex is coming to Mid-Missouri. The City of Columbia and officials from Boone County announced... More >>
10 hours ago Thursday, December 05 2019 Dec 5, 2019 Thursday, December 05, 2019 6:38:00 PM CST December 05, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY - Three men were charged on Thursday for being involved in a drug-trafficking conspiracy after federal agents seized... More >>
13 hours ago Thursday, December 05 2019 Dec 5, 2019 Thursday, December 05, 2019 4:32:00 PM CST December 05, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A marijuana advocacy group said people who have legal medical marijuana licenses are still being arrested. In... More >>
13 hours ago Thursday, December 05 2019 Dec 5, 2019 Thursday, December 05, 2019 4:28:00 PM CST December 05, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City Public School nurses could be getting a new medication to add to their medicine cabinets... More >>
14 hours ago Thursday, December 05 2019 Dec 5, 2019 Thursday, December 05, 2019 2:42:00 PM CST December 05, 2019 in News
TIPTON - David Dubois was taken into custody on Monday for stealing. A property owner in Fortuna, Mo. reported... More >>
15 hours ago Thursday, December 05 2019 Dec 5, 2019 Thursday, December 05, 2019 2:31:00 PM CST December 05, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The search of the Lamine River for the body of Mengqi Ji Elledge entered its third consecutive... More >>
16 hours ago Thursday, December 05 2019 Dec 5, 2019 Thursday, December 05, 2019 12:49:00 PM CST December 05, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri State Auditor's Office announced today they will deliver to Senate Leadership at least six completed... More >>
16 hours ago Thursday, December 05 2019 Dec 5, 2019 Thursday, December 05, 2019 12:44:00 PM CST December 05, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Boone County Prosecutor's Office charged a man with sodomy on Thursday after a reported sexual assault at... More >>
17 hours ago Thursday, December 05 2019 Dec 5, 2019 Thursday, December 05, 2019 12:32:00 PM CST December 05, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A nearly 100-year-old statute that has stood atop Missouri's Capitol will make her return Friday after being... More >>
17 hours ago Thursday, December 05 2019 Dec 5, 2019 Thursday, December 05, 2019 11:41:00 AM CST December 05, 2019 in News
COOPER COUNTY - Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers arrested two men when they found $1.1 million worth of THC vape... More >>
19 hours ago Thursday, December 05 2019 Dec 5, 2019 Thursday, December 05, 2019 9:47:00 AM CST December 05, 2019 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that the House is moving forward to draft articles of impeachment... More >>
19 hours ago Thursday, December 05 2019 Dec 5, 2019 Thursday, December 05, 2019 9:38:29 AM CST December 05, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia's search for a new fire chief is coming to a close. A community relations specialist for... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, December 05 2019 Dec 5, 2019 Thursday, December 05, 2019 1:48:00 AM CST December 05, 2019 in News
HONOLULU (AP) - The military says a U.S. sailor shot and killed two, and wounded one at the Pearl Harbor... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, December 04 2019 Dec 4, 2019 Wednesday, December 04, 2019 10:04:00 PM CST December 04, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt wrote a letter of support to the Cameron football team after the... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, December 04 2019 Dec 4, 2019 Wednesday, December 04, 2019 8:31:00 PM CST December 04, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 43°
6am 40°
7am 39°
8am 37°
9am 37°