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Columbia police respond to over a dozen different calls of gunshots

Officers of the Columbia Police Department have responded to at least 15 reports of gunshots in the last nine days, according to dispatch records.

No injuries or property damage have been reported in any of the incidents, but officers have found shell casings at multiple scenes.

Below is a map marking the locations of the shots fired calls and incidents since April 3, separated by week. The blue markers are for incidents that occurred between April 7 and April 12, while the red are from April 3 to April 6.

Glen Cobbins, a Columbia resident and community activist, said there’s a silver lining to the series of calls: People are actually calling the police.

“If nobody gets hit, that’s a good thing. And if there’s actually gunfire in the neighborhood and (nearby residents are) starting to call, that’s a good thing. That means they want their neighborhood cleaned up,” Cobbins said. “Everyone is trying to live a good life here, so why wouldn’t you want it safe?”

Cobbins said police training, as well as the leadership of interim Police Chief Geoff Jones, has improved relationships between community members and officers.

” We as a community need to be part of the solution and not part of the problem,” Cobbins said.

A project aimed at improving lighting downtown also could make that area safer, according to police.

The city government added six new, brighter lights in certain areas aimed at dispersing crowds late at night, but the progress on the project has halted until police can provide proof that they help.

“It’s definitely chaotic,” said Maddy Reardon, a Columbia resident, when describing the late-night crowd downtown. “Especially when they’re all pushing people out of the bars. They want people out as fast as possible.”

Several University of Missouri students tell ABC 17 News they feel safe downtown but more lights would help deter crime.

The Columbia Water & Light board told police they need to prove that the lights improve safety before they add more. The board has asked the City Council to table the project until it sees that research.

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