Columbia’s Urgent Need for a Crime Prevention Program Amidst Rising Shootings


A spokesperson for the City of Columbia said that the city is still figuring out what a crime prevention program will look like in Columbia. However, some people in the community say that this has been needed for a long time.

In the last two days, there have been several shootings in different parts of Columbia. Since March 1, Columbia Police have received 39 calls about shots being fired or heard.

When it comes to stopping violence, the head of Destiny of Hope, a group that helps at-risk teens and young adults, said there has been too much talk and not enough action.

Director Lonnie Lockhart Bey said, “We want the community to come to the table and bring what they have. Then we can figure out some things to do that can stop the violence.”

Sydney Olsen, a spokesperson for the City of Columbia, said that there have been “significant” talks and internal action about the violence prevention program, but no date has been set.

“These solutions must be unique to the community they fall within to address that community’s unique needs,” Olsen said in an email. “This program will be unique to the needs of our community, but the actual shape is still being determined.”

Asst. City Manager Matt Unrein will be in charge of the program. Olsen said the program could become a part of a bigger conversation about crime and making neighborhoods safer. He also said that city officials had talked with the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform’s program manager.

Three men were shot and killed on Doris Drive on Wednesday. Another was taken to the hospital. Police officers from the CPD were also seen near Volunteer Drive after shots were heard. Both of these scenes are still being looked into by ABC 17 News.

When a woman told police that someone shot at her car on Tuesday, they were seen looking into it near the Popeyes on Business Loop 70. Jenny Hopper, a spokesperson for the CPD, said on Wednesday that no one was hurt in the shooting and that only property damage was recorded. She wasn’t able to say anything else.

ABC 17 News talked to the boss of Popeyes and found out that they were able to open at their normal time on Wednesday and are working to fix the windows that were broken by the. No safety issues have been raised, he said. He thinks this was just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

One guy was killed in the Conley Road Walmart parking lot on Monday. For the killing, Isaac Hollis was charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action. He is being held without bond at the Boone County Jail.

Destiny of Hope and PEACE’s senior directors would like to see a plan made so that the community can work with the police and city leaders to stop violence. They said it would help people get along better.

Julian Jackman, founder and executive director of PEACE, said, “The people we serve are hurting, they’re struggling, and they’re trying to find a solution.” “And the people need to come together to figure that out.”

He said it was clear that people in Columbia are at odds with each other and that the CPD, city leaders, churches, and older people in the neighborhood need to work together to stop the violence.

The kids in the area are also aware of the violence. Junior at Battle High School Jarvis Lewis said that some students are more worried about the fights that are going to happen than about what they need to study that night.

Lewis said, “Something has to stop.” “Someone needs to act. Someone needs to speak out and say, “Hey, this doesn’t just affect adults; it also affects our youth. That’s next.”

“In these situations, everyone loses,” Jackman said. “In these situations, no one wins; everyone loses.” I hate seeing Columbia in a position where everyone loses.

It was said by CPD that they could not find any information on this subject at the time of publishing.

Columbia Neighborhood Watch president Herb Watchinski said that people should know what’s going on in their areas and call 311 if they see anything that doesn’t seem right.

“By doing that, we begin to collect significant information, intelligence if you would, that allows the law enforcement community and public safety community to look at trends and potentially become more proactive than they can if everything is done after the fact,” he said.

He said that neighborhood policing would make things better, but if the CPD is short-staffed, it can be hard to make new programs.

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