Property crime is up in Columbia but only slightly compared to last year.
Recent crime numbers show that there were 261 reports of property crime in 2017; in 2016, there were 240. Although it is a slight increase, Columbia Police Department says they are doing what they can to be proactive in preventing crime from happening.
CPD says that they have weekly meetings to locate where the crime hotspots are being reported. Although Columbia Police say it’s unclear what could be causing the slight increase, being a college town is something they take into consideration.
To reduce crime in residential neighborhoods, that’s where CPD relies on residents to be their eyes and ears. Programs like neighborhood watches are valuable, especially when faced with the shortage in officers.
Columbia Neighborhood Watch resident Irwin Schneider says the program is used as a preventative tool so criminals don’t continue to come back to their neighborhood.
“If they (residents) see anything suspicious, they will call the police and let them know so police can check it out and do their job,” Schneider says.
High crime areas in North and Central parts of Columbia don’t have a heavy presence of neighborhood watches, but Schneider, along with the police department, hope that will change.
Tuesday night, the neighborhood watch board and Columbia Police Department met for an orientation meeting for new members. While it was low attendance, Schneider hopes that the next meeting, on April 11, will attract more people, as it’s set to be in North Columbia at Lange Middle School.
Currently, the program is doing “fine” with funding, since the city is helping with some funding, but in several years, that could be re-evaluated.