Violent Crime in Downtown Columbia Down from Last Summer

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department said it is trying to make statistics on crime easier for the general public to understand.

Sergeant Joe Bernhard said the department would turn these statistics into graphs. It will then put the monthly graphs on its website.

"Violent crime and other crime have kind of a like cycle, a lot of time crime for a lot of reasons goes up and down, but one of the reasons is weather. Usually violent crime and crime in general goes up when its warmer and goes down when its colder."

Bernhard said many Columbia residents have misconceptions about actual crime in Columbia. He said he hopes these graphs will help residents be more informed on crime these trends.

The Columbia Police Department's website currently directs viewers to where users can see crime in the area. The site said there were 14 violent crimes in the downtown area from June 20 to July 18 in 2012. This year there have been five fewer violent crimes during the same time period.

The department said it is running into red tape with this project. The department currently works with a records system, which Bernhard said is outdated and close to twenty years old.

He said, "Right now they are just trying to get it to work with our current records system and that's what's taking the time."

A new records system comes with a large price tag, several million dollars. Bernhard said the addition of a new system would make the department run smoother as a whole.

Since the department has yet to move forward with the purchase of a new system, the website statistics will be generated manually.

Bernhard said it is still possible to use the old system but it will not be as easy to generate the graphs for the website without a new system.