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City to install new lighting downtown as concerns over crime increase

KMIZ

The City of Columbia is planning to install new lighting downtown as early as next month as concerns over crime in the area increase.

Katie Essing, executive director for the Downtown Community Improvement District, said the city is planning to install six test lights in the area around Hitt and Broadway.

The Columbia City Council approved the plan back in January in an effort to improve public safety. Poles for the lights will likely arrive in August, just weeks after the downtown area saw two separate shootings in the same weekend.

“I think the lights would help too but in conjunction with the proper policing,” Sal Nuccio, who has been the owner of Eastside Tavern for more than two decades, told ABC 17 News.

Nuccio said the big problem is that crowds of hundreds of people don’t leave the area after the bars close and then loiter around downtown. He said he’s seen the problem get worse over the past five years.

“It’s just getting worse and worse. More than once I’ve seen someone where you can see they are packing a holster in their waistband,” he said.

Nuccio said the downtown area needs a constant police presence to help deter crime. ABC 17 News has reached out to police, but is still waiting to hear back.

“[You should] have permanently stationed police from 9 o’clock until 3 in the morning. That’s it. That’s just what you do,” Nuccio said.

With regards to the lights, Essing said the plan is to have interested parties meetings after the lights are installed. She said they hope to move forward with additional installation if they see the lights work.

Editor’s note: Nuccio’s name was misspelled in an earlier version of this story.

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ABC 17 News Team

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