Columbia Property Crime Down, City Center Still Struggles

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COLUMBIA - Property crime has declinied in Columbia, according to the FBI. The number of robberies, burglaries, and larcenies all dropped between 2011 and 2012.

Increased awareness is one reason for the lower numbers, said Columbia Police Sergeant Joe Burnhard. Helpful preventative tips include "just locking your car door... locking your garage door even when you're at home in your backyard."

Central Columbia accounts for majority of the property crime. Mike Hill, a barber who works on Sexton Road, said the lower property crime rate isn't visible in every community in Columbia.

Like many other neighborhoods, people sit on their porches and enjoy the warm summer evenings, they have yard sales, kids ride bikes and people wave when their neighbors drive by.His customers said they have had valuable personal items stolen from their cars and homes.

Hill said he sees all sorts of crime in the area, including theft, drugs and even shootings. Some of his customers said they had valuable personal items stolen from their cars and home.

Location is at the heart of the area's problem.

"They're older neighborhoods, more densely populated, more rentals," said Burnhard. Police keep a tight eye on the city's center in the hopes of preventing more property crime, he said.

In 2011, there were 166 robberies compared to 162 in 2012. The number of burglaries in 2011 was 798 and dropped to 784 the next year, while larcenies declined to 3,295 from 3,323 in 2011.