City leaders consider funding request for Neighborhood Watch

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Columbia city leaders are considering funding the city Neighborhood Watch program.

The Mayor's Task Force on Community Violence reviewed a funding request from the City Manager's Office at their meeting Wednesday night.

If approved, the request would mean the Neighborhood Watch program would receive just over $3,000 to put toward their needs.

Three weeks ago, Neighborhood Watch Board president Greg Reed said the program does not currently have any funding, other than donations made by board members.

Reed said if they had funding, it would go toward training sessions and advertising to reach more people in the community.

Columbia police officer Melvin Buckner oversees the program. He said the money would allow the program to get students involved in college neighborhoods, where a large number of burglaries have been taking place.

Councilman and co-chair of the task force, Michael Trapp, said he is all for funding the program, but has some preferences about where the money should come from.

"Traditionally, Neighborhood Watch was in the police budget," Trapp said. "I believe the city should invest in Neighborhood Watch, but I would like to see the money come from a budget besides the police department."

He said the already limited police resources don't need to be stretched any further. He also said he has been talking with other council members to see where in the budget they can find the money to put toward the program.

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