Shots Fired? Columbia Police Chief Not Too Worried

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COLUMBIA - From January 1, 2011 to June 17, 2011 there were 33 shots fired incidents in Columbia. That's when someone shoots a gun either in a random fashion or at someone.   During that same time period this year the number increased to 42 incidents.   But Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton is not concerned with the rise. 

"No I don't think it's significant if you look at the period of time that we are covering," Burton says. "Obviously more, any time we have more we want less. It's just that we've had a few more this year than in years past."  

And Chief Burton says the numbers are a bit misleading.

"We had when you look back, there was one month, a couple of weeks there where we had 11 incidents, separate incidents in a matter of a few days. You take those out of the equation and we're not that much different than years past," Burton says.   

Chief Burton says the police do not know why there have been more shots fired this year.

"No. No idea. People get mad at each other for different reasons. Like we talked about we can't control what people get mad at each other about and how serious they think it is," Burton says.   
But the police have acted to curb the crime and have beefed up patrols with two police officers in the Douglass Park and Derby Ridge neighborhoods.   

"So what we've done is assign a couple of officers down there on foot and my request of them was to go in and create relationships with the law abiding members of the community which is the majority of people that live there," Burton says.    

Burton says communication is key.

"I want to re-emphasize that Douglass Park is a beautiful park. It's a nice place to be and spend time. We want to make it even nicer. But I think that knowing the people in the neighborhood and getting to know the people is the key to this whole thing," Burton says.     

Burton says that he instructs the officers in these areas to park their cars, walk around, and talk to people.