- Associated Press - Saturday, July 12, 2014

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Gun violence is often thought of as an urban problem, but recent shootings in Columbia, Missouri, are creating concern.

The Columbia Tribune (https://bit.ly/1oqBGQS ) reports that a small group of central Columbia residents met with three police supervisors last week to discuss a recent wave of gun violence.

Five people have been shot in Boone County since June 25, four of them in central Columbia. Police have been dispatched to 25 reports of shots fired and say gunfire was confirmed in many of those cases.

On Wednesday, someone fired dozens of shots and hit two houses and an empty car. No one was hurt.

Police say they’re being proactive. Officers from other divisions are on patrol in the central city, part of an effort to saturate the area with police, said Jason Jones, a police lieutenant who was part of the meeting.

Atticus Taylor, who lives in the area where shootings have occurred, said he fears for his children.

“Every summer, we have gun violence,” Taylor said.

One problem police face is that, while tips come in and a suspect is often identified, finding evidence and getting someone to agree to testify is often difficult, said deputy police chief Jill Schlude.

Just one man has been arrested in the shootings, for allegedly firing rounds at a park in late June. Another man is being sought for shooing a man on July 3, but police have not found the suspect.

Police Lt. Eric Hughes said residents can make their homes less attractive to criminals by keeping the area well-lit, clearing brush and debris, and installing security cameras.

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Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, https://www.columbiatribune.com

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