Weekend gunfire prompts concern among businesses, leaders

Related Story

COLUMBIA - A shooting in downtown Columbia early Sunday morning has heightened concerns about safety for downtown businesses. 

The shooting happened at the intersection of Hitt Street and Broadway. 

Jordan Robinson, general manager for Hot Box cookies, said he is not surprised at all when incidents like these occur on this block. 

"This is somewhat of a normalcy, unfortunately, just about every weekend there's always an altercation. Maybe about once a month there's always a shooting or fight or stabbing or something like that," he said. 

Robinson said he knows there is a heavy police presence downtown, but he believes there is always room for improvement when it comes to safety issues. 

"Nine times out of ten if you hear about an incident happening downtown it's always on this block. If you know it's always on this block then, maybe you know, a little bit more preparation to stop things like that happening," he said. 

Nick Peckham, a member of the Downtown Columbia Leadership Council, said all of the city departments have a common interest in public safety. 

"We've recognized that in the daytime downtown has one personality and at night it has a rather different one," he said. 

Peckham said the Downtown Leadership Council has spoken about including new lights in areas around bars to increase safety. 

"There's no doubt that safety is important, you don't want to go somewhere where it's unsafe," he said. "I think from the standpoint of the Downtown Leadership Council, which is concerned with the design of downtown, places that are dark or streets that you walk down can be more lit up to have a sense of human presence all around you." 

Robinson said he doesn't believe these safety issues will hurt his business and he is most concerned about the safety of his employees and customers.