Columbia councilman: CPD officers are working a lot of overtime, trying to prevent downtown violence

Councilman Matt Pitzer represents Columbia’s 5th Ward (photo courtesy of city of Columbia website)

A city councilman says Columbia Police are working long hours to stop downtown violence.

There have been eight downtown shootings since mid-September, and Councilman Matt Pitzer tells “Wake Up Columbia” that CPD officers have a tough job.

“They’re busting their humps. You know, we’re asking them to work an incredible amount of overtime on nights and weekends to try to disrupt this. But this is happening right where they are and they’re taking the action that they need to,” Pitzer says.

CPD officers were near Vibez lounge at 3 am Sunday, when two suspects in a disturbance began shooting at each other. One of them allegedly fired into a crowd, and five victims were wounded. Mayor Brian Treece credits CPD’s presence in the downtown area for saving lives.

Pitzer says it’s time for more action and less talk, in efforts to reduce the downtown gun violence. He says the city has to figure out how to stop the incidents from happening.

“Whether that’s looking at the bars and the clubs and what they’re doing, if they’re complying with their liquor license and they’re complying with all the laws about when they have to shut down, when they have to get people out,” says Pitzer.

Four of the eight shootings since September have occurred outside of Vibez, all between the hours of 2:30 am and 5 am.

Columbia Police are increasing foot patrols downtown and are also considering adding temporary lighting systems.

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