Mayor's violence task force unveils final recommendations

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COLUMBIA -  The Mayor's Task Force on Community Violence announced its final recommendations to reduce crime in Columbia Wednesday at City Hall.  

Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid established the task force in 2013 after a series of high profile crimes. It includes city council members as well as others from around the community. The members have been meeting on Wednesdays, twice a month for 14 months, gathering scientific data on community violence and hearing public input.

In those meetings the task force has come up with recommendations to present to the city to help curb violence in the community. The deadline to submit the recommendations was November 7, and the task force will speak on its recommendations at the November City Council meeting.

Before it presents them to the city, the task force wanted presented them to the community. 

The recommendations are placed into four pillars:


Details on these pillars were discussed at the public forum. Some of the recommendations include adding a youth center, holding cultural training for the police department, making sure school resource officers are in middle and high schools, and helping and being accountable for high-risk offenders returning to the community. 

Task force member Pamela Hardin said she thinks the changes will make a huge difference because they came straight from the community opinions. 

"I do love the fact that we were able to have the community forums and involve the different citizens in Columbia," Hardin said. "That we didn't just take it upon ourselves to make these recommendations, but we were able to involve the community as well and take a lot of input from what they said because it is a community problem."

The task force said it was so impressed by the community input in these meetings that it hopes to keep up with them in the future in a less formal way.