Columbia Anti-Violence Task Force meets for first time

Columbia Anti-Violence Task Force meets for first time

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Columbia Anti-Violence Task Force met for the first time Wednesday night.

Fifth Ward councilwoman and co-chair Laura Nauser preached "prevention, intervention, enforcement and re-enrty."

The last point was the one most often forgotten and needing more attention.

Thirteen members make up the Columbia anti-violence task force, all with varying backgrounds, but all working toward the same goal -- to reduce violence in Columbia.

Crime is a lingering problem on Columbia's streets.

The solution is still unknown, but a group of Columbia community members are working to fix that problem.

Many questions were thrown around in tonight's meeting. What is going on? What could be a catalyst? What is a solution?

The task force is trying to understand Columbia's violence.

"It's going to be a top-down approach. I think that second meeting when everyone comes together with their research topics and interests and info they bring to the table, I think that will be a good place to start. The task force members will bring their expertise and we will use that top-down approach," said Nauser.

Members agreed youth violence is a national issue, but Columbia has a unique situation requiring a tailored solution.

Some members started voicing their opinions and ideas tonight. One suggestion was something task-force member Pamela Hardin said she's seen work in other cities.

"I believe that our young people don't have enough to do, positively." Hardin said. "I'm here hoping that I can bring to the table something that we can do that can kinda give them something to do besides hanging out in the streets."

Ideas were generated Wednesday night, the next step is to keep moving those ideas forward.

"What are we going to do that's specific? You laid out, prevention, intervention, enforcement and re-entry. I mean what are we going to do? Prevention are we going to do programing are we going to have money to subsidize these mentors to have them do these things and take the kids." Glenn Robertson said.

The ultimate is goal to make Columbia's streets safer. The anti-violence task force plans on meeting twice a month, but the results won't be fast.

They plan to issue their recommendations in November 2014.

The next meeting set for Sept.11.

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