Columbia crime plan still far off

Youth anti-violence task force recommendations won't come for one year

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Columbia city leaders have spent the past few weeks giving lip service to tackling an increase in the frequency, severity and location of violent crimes.

But a city-proposed solution could still be one year off.

At a city council meeting on Monday, July 1, Mayor Bob McDavid proposed the task force as an alternative to a failed youth curfew proposal. During the meeting, he pitched a timeline of one month to set up the task force and one year for its recommendations.

The plan came just before a 16-year-old was taken into custody following an alleged car chase, crash and shootout on a busy Providence Road Sunday night.

"The underlying problems that create this culture are very difficult to change. We're talking about opportunity, we're talking about privilege, we're talking about education, we're talking about poverty," McDavid told ABC 17 News. "So, there is no quick fix for this."

Fifth Ward council member Laura Nauser agreed.

Nauser fought for youth anti-violence initiatives in 2007/2008. She told ABC 17 News on Tuesday the length of time between violence now and the plans from a task force would lead to better programs or procedures and would avoid costly knee-jerk reactions.

She pointed to downtown police security cameras on 10th Street as an example of expensive reactions without noticeable impact.

Columbia City Council is expected to continue discussing the task force at a pre-council meeting on Monday. At that point, the task force's makeup and specific directive will be discussed.

Until then, anyone interested in being part of the task force is asked to contact their ward's council member.

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