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Columbia city leaders, county officials, CPS leaders meet to discuss youth violence prevention


On Tuesday afternoon, Columbia City leaders, a Boone County commissioner and Columbia Public Schools leaders met at the district's headquarters to discuss ways to address violence in the city of Columbia.

The meeting was closed to the public.

ABC 17 News attempted to speak with Deputy City Manager Matt Unrein, City Manager De'Carlon Seewood and Boone County Commissioner Kip Kendrick following the meeting. However, they stated they were unable to discuss what specifically was addressed during the meeting.

Executive Director of Destiny of Hope Lonnie Lockhart Bey said the meeting was an early discussion between groups to discuss how to prevent youth violence.

Documents given to ABC 17 News from Unrein detail possible program goals from the Missouri AfterSchool Network.

The documents outline three goals the program looks to address. One of the goals of the program is to support or increase student achievement and sense of competence in reading and various subjects. The second goal addresses ways to include a safe and supportive environment and positive interactions for students.

The third goal includes enhancing youth's college and career readiness skills and behaviors, including positive schools behaviors, according to the documents.

During Monday night's City Council meeting, Seewood said the city had been working with organizations to support the youth of Columbia and utilize a proactive, rather than reactive approach. Seewood said he believed most of the violence seen in the city involved juveniles.

The city is also planning to meet with the National Office of Violence Prevention and Citizens United later in May, Seewood said during Monday night's meeting.

Deputy Police Chief Matt Stephens also said during Monday night's City Council meeting that the Columbia Police Department has been struggling to get businesses to cooperate and give police surveillance footage involving crime scenes.

Stephens also said the department was "spread thin" and had to call for mutual aid during a string of shootings over the weekend. One shooting sent two men to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries Sunday morning.

Roughly an hour later, CPD responded to a scene in downtown Columbia that left a woman injured. Three people have also been charged for their alleged roles in the incident.

The Columbia Police Department is still searching for two male juveniles for their alleged role in a Northeast Columbia shooting in April that killed Derek Silvey, 18. A 15-year-old was also arrested in March for the murder of Malik Jones, 25 after he was reported missing in January.

According to data from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, 75 individuals between the ages of 10-17 were arrested so far in 2024 for violent crimes in Columbia. The next closest number of arrests is 44 for people between the ages of 25-34.

There have also been 38 victims of violent crime in Columbia between the ages of 10 and 17, according to MSHP data.

The Highway Patrol lists violent crime as consisting of "murder (consisting of murder and non-negligent manslaughter), Robbery, Aggravated Assault and Rape. Victims are always individuals and one crime will be counted for each victim."

Article Topic Follows: Columbia

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Nia Hinson


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