Skip to Content

Communities working to clean up areas of crime

Several neighborhoods in Columbia participated in National Night Out Tuesday night. It’s an annual event for communities to come together to show criminals they’re not giving up on keeping their neighborhoods safe.

Pat Kelley, treasurer of Ridgeway Neighborhood Association, helped to organize her neighborhood’s event at the Downtown Optimist Park.

The park sits at the corner of Forest and Grand Avenue. There have been three shootings near the intersection since the end of April.

“It was such a scary feeling to have somebody lying down there on the sidewalk who had been shot right outside your house,” she said in reference to one of the shootings.”We wanted to show that this is a neighborhood that doesn’t give up.”

The event also celebrated the dedication of the neighborhood’s newly renovated Downtown Optimist Park. The park area received $50,000 dollars of improvements.

“Renovating, fixing things up and making an investment in the neighborhood shows that people care about the neighborhood and that it’s not a scary place to be,” Kelley said. “We’re going to continue being a neighborhood. It’s not going to be re-developed into something else.”

The park improvements were made possible by a voter-approved parks sales tax that was passed in November 2014. Michael Griggs, Columbia Parks and Recreation Director, said crime prevention is possible through environmental design.

“By creating some places where families can come, it kind of drives out the element that we don’t want in our parks,” he said. “So it makes the neighborhood a more friendly place. They can go somewhere where the can all gather. It’s just become a much better amenity for the entire neighborhood.”

Some improvements included a new playground, new walkways and a new pavilion.

Another Columbia neighborhood looking to combat crime is on the north side of town near in the area near Bodie Drive.

In one month, the neighborhood has had three separate shootings. No arrests have been made in any of the incidents.

Michael Trapp, 2nd Ward Councilman, said his team has been talking to residents about starting a neighborhood watch or association.

“The biggest thing people can do is just know their neighbors,” he said. “That was my big intent to see if we could have a meeting to pull together the people that care about the area.”

He said he’s struggling to find someone willing to take on the leader position.

“I’m going to keep trying until we’ve exhausted every possibility to help improve their feelings of safety and help bring the shooters to justice,” he said. “We have to show there are reasons to care about your neighborhood. That if you do step out and make a difference, it’s going to help.

Trapp said he’s also looking into the possibility at installing a traffic camera near the entrance of the neighborhood. He submitted his suggestion at the Columbia city council meeting Monday. The report from council could take several weeks to decide if the surveillance camera is a legitimate strategy.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

ABC 17 News Team


ABC 17 News is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content