Columbia councilwoman says city needs to admit there is a growing gang problem

Laura Nauser says she has ideas to confront gang violence

POSTED: 11:25 PM CDT Jun 20, 2013    UPDATED: 08:06 PM CDT Jun 21, 2013 
COLUMBIA, Mo. -

Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser told ABC 17 News Columbia's crime problem will not be solved until the city admits it has a gang problem. 

Nauser said after the Friday night shooting, the community needs to admit this is a growing problem.

"We can no longer sweep it under the rug and not discuss it, because if we don't discuss it in public, then we're not going to solve the problem," Nauser said.

Nauser said she has pushed various initiatives in the past to help with crime control.

One of those proposals was a curfew law, which failed in the council vote. 

But she said the events from Friday have brought these ideas back up. 

"Unfortunately, we only think about this when we have something happen," Nauser told ABC 17 News.

She said she would like to see more police presence downtown and that she hopes the new budget will allow for that. 

She also said a downtown task force, where officers and detectives would be dedicated full-time to controlling gang violence, is an idea she will bring before the council.

"We really need to start working on this and giving it the attention it deserves," Nauser said.