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Columbia city leaders look to past task force for violence mitigation strategies

Columbia city leaders look to past task force for violence mitigation strategies


Columbia city leaders are again looking to the 2014 Mayor's Task Force on Community Violence in response to the recent shootings on Fifth St. downtown.

Police say shots were fired Sunday on Broadway and Fifth Streets, but no injuries were reported. On Sept. 18, just a block away, two people were shot and suffered minor injuries near the corner of Walnut and Fifth Streets; no arrests were made in both instances.

Both Ward 1 Columbia City Councilperson Pat Fowler and Ward 4 Councilperson Ian Thomas say the city plans to use $2 million from the American Rescue Plan Act funding to follow the task force recommendations.

Police dispatch records over the last year show dozens of calls to the area ranging from disturbances to shots fired.

"These shootings are tragic and a symptom of the deep and unjust structural inequality in our community," said Ward 4 Councilperson Ian Thomas.

Thomas says he wants the federal ARPA grants to pay for the crime reduction strategies and pointed to effective strategies identified in 2014 from the Mayor's Task Force on Community Violence, now dissolved.

According to the City of Columbia's Fiscal Year 2022 Budget, it plans to allocate $2 million to flush out ideas from the task force, but there is no timeline for the action.

Fowler agreed with Thomas' statements.

"The community is asking us to make our ARPA funding decisions based upon data," Fowler said. "We can and should format that data so that we can identify areas in our community that need our attention and support and share that data with our neighborhoods."

Nickie Davis from the Downtown Community Improvement District says the shootings will also be on the next CID board meeting agenda on Oct. 5.

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Zach Boetto

Zach Boetto anchors the weekend morning and weekday 9 a.m. & noon newscasts for ABC 17. You can find up-to-the-minute information on Zach’s social media, @ABC17Zach on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


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