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Violent crime decreases in Columbia in 2013

Derek Bridges

The Columbia Police Department released its Uniform Crime Reporting data for 2013. The report shows a violent crime index of 3.76, which means there are 3.76 violent crimes committed per 1,000 people in Columbia. The index hasn’t been this low since 1985. Columbia PD has had to adjust to a shortage of available staff. Public Information officer, Latisha Stroer, says an increase in retirements has played a role.

“We’re at the lowest number of officers that we have been since 1993. We’ve had the highest number of retirements last year, we have a large number of officers retiring again this year. Every department nationwide has had problems with recruiting officers, new officers, and people wanting to come into this profession,” Stroer said.

Once officers are found to fill the departments vacancies, then comes the question of proper training. Chad Craig is the Training and Recruitment Sergeant for the Columbia Police Department. He says adding a new officer to the team has its challenges.

“It’s very difficult getting new people in, trained and ready to operate on the street, on their own. They spend at least three months in the police academy and between three and four months in field training.”

The Uniform Crime Reporting data was gathered using the city population from 2013. When the FBI releases their official report with a new population for Columbia, a decrease in the violent crime index statistic is expected.