Recent crime not a concern for Eve Fest in Columbia

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Columbia hosted its annual New Year's Eve festival Tuesday evening and hundreds of people filtered in and out.

This is after a weeklong crime spree; including five shootings in and around the city since Christmas Eve. Police are not doing anything different, but said they had the downtown unit out patrolling the area while the traffic unit monitored for drunk driving.

Though the shooters are on the loose, Columbia residents said crimes did not deter them from attending Eve Fest.

"We've always felt safe downtown and we've been to the event every year they've had it," said Columbia resident Tim Harlan.

Joe Bernhard with the Columbia Police Department points out the crime has not been happening downtown. It's in surrounding areas.

Eve Fest is a family-friendly, alcohol-free event and Bernhard said the main concern on New Year's Eve is drunk driving.

For some residents, the concern about the recent shootings and other crime doesn't kick in until later in the evening.

"I would definitely after 1 a.m. in the morning be a little more cautious," said Columbia resident Victoria MacGregor.

MacGregor said she was going to enjoy the event with her son.

"I feel really safe coming down here," she said. "It's a community event, lots of families, children...earlier in the night, I really don't think it's a problem."

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