COLUMBIA — Increases in the rate of violent crime in Columbia are a persistent, though not steady, problem. After increasing by 34 percent in 2007, the rate decreased by 36 percent in 2008. Now the numbers have risen again.
These stories may be representative of an unfortunate increase — nearly 30 percent — in the number of violent crimes in Columbia between 2008 and 2009. The increases were primarily in incidents of forcible rape and aggravated assault. These statistics are tracked annually by the FBI.
In a previous Missourian article, Public Information Officer Jessie Haden said that these are often crimes of passion — difficult to see coming — and that the department sometimes has more luck solving them than preventing them.
But law enforcement officials aren't the only ones capable of affecting violent crime. In 2007, the last year of increase, a group of local activists met to discuss education and violence in Columbia. The group discussed what roles both the police and the community can take to curb Columbia's crime rate, according to previous Missourian coverage of their meeting.
What can Columbia do as a community to reduce its rate of violent crime?