Concerned citizens gather to set example on how to fight local crime

COLUMBIA, Mo. - A group of concerned citizens are taking to the streets of downtown Columbia tonight to do what they can to reduce crime.

They hope their efforts will show how a community can prevent violence.

The group met at 10th and Broadway where a witness's video showed someone firing shots into a large crowd.

The goal for tonight is to rally the town, showing everyone together can reduce crime.

Group leader James Gray says anyone attending will mix in with people on the street.

He says it's not just about reducing crime, but showing kids someone is keeping an eye out for them.

"The problem that I have is that if it's not happening in their  neighborhood, then 'we don't care.' What we need to do as a citizen and as the city of Columbia is to care about everywhere," Gray said.

As for the shooting incident two weeks ago, Gray says it's just one incident.

Talking about the shooting, Gray tells us he was frustrated while attending the city council meeting earlier this week.

He believe the low number of everyday citizens at the meeting shows a community not as invested in its future.

Gray says local crime isn't just happening in just one neighborhood.

It's happening in North, South and West Columbia. Those areas just not getting as much attention.

"Bullets don't have a color. And me as a preacher,I've seen police officers knock on people's doors late at night whether they are black or white, telling them their loved one is dead. In the wrong place on the right time," said Gray.

But Gray still has faith in Columbia's youth.

He encourages everyone to step out of their comfort zone and stop turning a blind eye.

"This is a city, county... it's all together, so we want everybody to know we want to support what we need to do and that is to come from our houses and not turn our head anymore," Gray said.

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