Residents of west Columbia neighborhoods stepping up to stop crime

Neighbors say they believe teens are responsible for string of robberies and car break-ins

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Residents of the Georgetown subdivision in West Columbia are stepping up their neighborhood crime watch after multiple robberies and car break-ins.

"We're tired of it, " said resident William Howard. "So now we're hitting the streets as neighbors. We're taking turns. We're staying up as late as we possibly can and trying to take control of this."

Howard said his house was broken into Labor Day weekend and many items, including his gun, were stolen.

Now Howard is leading the neighborhood watch program.

There were robberies and an attempted car theft at Grant Lane and Teakwood Court in July.

A 10-year-old was robbed at gun point over a dirt bike Saturday near the Georgetown subdivision. Police are still looking for the 15-year-old responsible for that incident.

Residents said there have been multiple robberies and car break-ins in the area, especially over the last year.

"We had a car stolen a year ago," said on resident in the West Cliff subdivision. "The same night, another car was stolen in an adjoining neighborhood."

West Columbia residents who talked to ABC 17 News Sunday said Saturday's incident was the final straw.

"It just feels like every single day you're going to wake up to another neighbor, you know, finding their car broken into or something is missing," one resident told ABC 17 News.

Some neighbors wanted to remain anonymous for fear of being targeted again.

ABC 17 News asked neighbors why they are stepping up the neighborhood watch and they said it's because they don't see enough police presence.

"Police presence during the day, yeah," Howard said. "But what about at night? We need them to step up tremendously at night."

A Facebook page was created for Georgetown residents to warn each other about break-ins and other issues.

Howard said he hopes if the neighborhoods unite, they will be able to stop the problems that have hit time and again in west Columbia neighborhoods.

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