Community members say they have suggestions to decrease crime in Columbia

Crime-free housing strategies and creating jobs to discourage repeat offenders from committing more crimes among those ideas

POSTED: 09:42 PM CDT Jun 25, 2013    UPDATED: 08:04 AM CDT Jun 26, 2013 
COLUMBIA, Mo. -

Four shootings in a nine-day time period has residents demanding something be done.

The Columbia City Council and Police Chief Ken Burton are holding a news conference Wednesday to give updates on the investigation into the shootings and talk about ways to prevent more crime. 

Community members told ABC 17 News they had some suggestions they'd like city leaders to address.

"We've implemented a crime-free housing strategy that I think has been really effective and has shown a decrease in crime in our neighborhood, and I would like to see the city expand those efforts to working with other landlords in the community and in other neighborhoods," said Phil Steinhaus, CEO of the Columbia Housing Authority. 

Steinhaus said more crime-free housing would eliminate some of the problems the city has been facing in recent months. 

Lorenzo Lawson with the Youth Empowerment Zone said he thinks helping criminals find jobs after serving time will eliminate drug-related crimes.

"There's always unemployment in the illegal drug business, and a lot of them do that," Lawson told ABC 17 News. "They know how to rob, they know how to do things illegally." 

Lawson said a lot of crimes are committed by repeat offenders who can't find jobs after being labeled felons, and the pressure to make a living drives them to commit crimes again for money. 

"I want to hear some alternatives to them just locking them up and them coming right back out and re-offend," Lawson said. "What are we going to do to keep them from re-offending?"

Lawson said he will be at the city's meeting tomorrow to make sure that question is answered.