Three weeks after the launch of a new ceasefire initiative, Columbia’s police chief said Friday the the plan is working. “The additional police pressure, additional police presence causes them [criminals] to lay low and it’s unfortunate that we can’t sustain this kind of initiative full-time,” said Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton. He said while the added patrols is very expensive and hard to sustain, he believes it was necessary to curb recent shootings. Chief Burton did not have exact number on arrests made since the start of the plan, but he cites that some progress is hard to track. As the guest speaker at a community meeting at the Columbia Country Club Friday afternoon, Chief Burton spoke about crime not being 100 percent as a police problem, but a societal problem. He urged people to speak up about crime and report suspicious activities. The initiative was launched in mid-November after four people were shot on Election Day. ABC 17 News checked police dispatch reports and since then — police responded to 35 calls of possible shootings. Some of them turned out to be fireworks, but others were shots fired into people’s homes or cars. Chief Burton said they draw information from those calls to analysis and map where it’s happening and see if people who live in the neighborhood could be affiliated to criminals based on previous criminal histories and concentrate on those people.He said it’s not a conventional approach, but he feels that reaching out to people who have ties to criminals is one way to get to people who may engage in crimes before they happen.
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