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Columbia businesses concerned for safety after five armed robberies

Tuesday, suspects are still on the loose after five armed robberies at Columbia businesses in a little over a week.

Those five robberies do not include the recent bank robberies.

Three days after the latest business robbery, Columbia police said they still have no suspects.

Abc 17 talked to neighboring businesses about what they think could be done to prevent more from happening. One restaurant manager said Columbia police sued to host seminars at area businesses on how to prevent crimes like robberies. But he said that hasn’t happened for several years.

Columbia police said a “Crime Prevention Team” made up of six officers used to go around to various Columbia businesses and give safety trainings. But because of staffing issues, the team was reduced to two officers and then eventually disbanded.

That was before the current Police Chief Ken Burton was in office, police said. That was six years ago.

One of the five businesses that has been targeted said it would welcome crime prevention training.

“If they had usable, and realistically implementable information, it would be something we would be perfectly happy to be a part of,” We B Smokin manager Alec Stanley said.

MUPD said it has a robbery prevention program available to businesses. But said it has not had a training in years either. Campus police said if businesses are interested, it will stage a mock robbery to teach employees how to act safely and how to provide good descriptions to police after.

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