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Columbia City Council to hear concerns about local crime

The Columbia City Council will hear an update Monday on the recommendations of the Mayor’s Task Force on Community Violence, as well as several comments from members of the public related to community violence.

In recent weeks, Columbia’s downtown area has experienced an uptick in gun violence, including shootings outside bars.

The Mayor’s Task Force was founded in August 2013 to combat violence in the community and was dissolved in November 2014, when its report was delivered to council, according to an email from Toni Messina, CPD Communications and Outreach Supervisor.

A separate inter-agency task force was created by Columbia Mayor Brian Treece in January 2020 to deal with a spike in violent crime but Columbia Police Department participation in that effort ended this summer, Messina said.

Local police stopped participating because of a conflict with a new state gun rights law. The law made it illegal for any state or local offices, including the task force, from cooperating with federal actions to enforce violations of the right to bear arms in the state of Missouri.

Several community members have requested time to address crime issues during the formal public comment period that is held near the beginning of council meetings.