Crime rates in Columbia are on the rise, despite the decrease in crime rates in rural Boone County in past years.
According to the Missouri Uniform Crime Reporting Program, Columbia leads Boone County in forcible rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults, among other offenses.
In rural Boone County, the number of robberies has gone down and rapes have decreased from six to five, said Capt. Beverly Braun of the Boone County Sheriff’s Department.
“There has been a decrease in several areas,” Braun said.
The decrease in crime rates might be due to a different approach to law enforcement from the Sheriff’s Department.
“We have instituted a more proactive enforcement,” Braun said.
While there has been a decrease in crime in rural Boone County, Columbia has experienced a rise in crime rates over the past three years.
There has been an increase in violent crimes, Columbia Police Department Capt. Brad Nelson said. He said when averaging the past three years, the total crime rate has gone up as well.
To combat this rise in crime, CPD has implemented new programs. There is a robbery detail and a two-person patrol unit that patrols the inner city. There is also a four-person Community Action Team that is assigned projects.
“If there were a lot of robberies at convenience stores for instance, CAT would respond,” Nelson said. “They handle crime trends, primarily violent crimes.”
There is also cooperation between CPD and the sheriff’s department. Sheriff Dwayne Carey and CPD Chief Randy Boehm have formed a task force, and the sheriff’s department assists in Columbia whenever requested.
The discrepancies in crime rates might be related to the population distribution in Boone County.
“Boone County is more rural than Columbia,” Braun said. “There is a greater population in Columbia and it is more concentrated than the rest of the county.”
A majority of the county’s population lives in Columbia.
“Many times, people committing crimes in the city live in the county or vice-versa,” Nelson said.
While crime in Columbia has risen, MU has not seen a specific trend in crimes.
“In the 15 years I have been with the department there have been slight increases and slight decreases but there has been no dramatic changes,” MU Police Department Capt. Brian Weimer said.
The most common crimes on campus are larceny and theft.
“Larceny is the most common crime and involves somebody leaving something laying around and it not being there later,” Weimer said. “Robbery involves a threat.”