Columbia police's proactive patrolling yields 16 felony arrests since gun incidents

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 | 9:14 p.m. CDT; updated 11:39 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 16, 2014

COLUMBIA — The Columbia Police Department has made 16 felony arrests and five gun recoveries as a result of reinforcing its proactive patrolling methods, according to a Police Department news release.

The proactive patrolling method is one where officers on patrol are assigned to an area and are not subject to dispatch calls, police spokeswoman Latisha Stroer said.

Officers who are involved have either been volunteering to come in during their time off or their schedules have been modified to help, Lt. Eric Hughes said.

The recent increase in efforts to curb crime with proactive patrolling has come from the spike in gun violence. These efforts have resulted in 96 traffic stops and 39 checked subjects since the July Fourth weekend, according to the news release. The criteria police use to check subjects vary, but police often look for large group gatherings or people who appear to be intoxicated while walking, Stroer said.

Twelve other incidents of contact were also made; this includes any crime other than a vehicle stop.

Two of the 16 arrests are related to the most recent shots-fired incidents — Jamar Burns on suspicion of the July 5 West Worley Street shootings and Anthony Prince on suspicion of the Douglass Park shootings on June 29.

Police have also been able to identify Alexander Hill as a subject possibly involved in the July 3 shooting on Garth Avenue and Oak Street and have a warrant for his arrest.

Proactive patrolling began in 2012 and has been used throughout the past two years whenever the city has an increase in violent crimes, Stroer said. One of the inaugural proactive patrolling assignments was in the Douglass Park area in 2012, according to previous Missourian reporting. Since then, the proactive patrolling has expanded citywide.

Hughes said that the specific areas where police are patrolling could not be disclosed but that officers were especially covering areas where shootings have occurred.

Columbia police are encouraging residents with information regarding recent crimes to contact the police or to call Crime Stoppers at 573-875-TIPS. Crime Stoppers is still offering a $2,000 reward for information that can lead to arrests.

Supervising editor is Mary Ryan.

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