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Columbus police chief responds to spike in gun violence

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Police Chief Ricky Boren says the recent spurt of shootings and killings is part of a cyclical trend that the city sees just about every year. Police Chief Ricky Boren says the recent spurt of shootings and killings is part of a cyclical trend that the city sees just about every year.
In the past 8 days, there has been at least 6 shootings in Columbus, 3 of them have been murders. In the past 8 days, there has been at least 6 shootings in Columbus, 3 of them have been murders.
COLUMBUS, GA - In the past 8 days, there has been at least 6 shootings in Columbus, 3 of them have been murders.

>>Thursday, July 31: Big Cat Gas Station, Buena Vista Road: 1 dead, 1 arrested

>>Sunday, August 3: Dogwood Avenue: 1 injured, 1 arrested

>>Sunday August 3: Westpark Drive: 1 injured

>>Wednesday August 6, Cross Key Apartments: 1 dead, 1 arrested

>>Thursday, August 7: Hunter Haven Apartments: 1 injured

>>Friday, August 8: Gleason Avenue, 1 dead

Many have raised their concern about the increase in crime, especially on the heels of Mayor Teresa Tomlinson releasing crime stats that showed 2nd Quarter crime is only slightly higher than at the same time last year.

Columbus Police Chief Ricky Boren wants you to keep in mind that the crimes that have happened the past few weeks will go toward the 3rd Quarter crime stats. 2nd Quarter data is from April through June. Those numbers showed less than a 1% increase than 2nd Quarter last year.



Chief Boren calls these numbers about middle of the road. He says traditionally there has been a bigger increase in 3rd Quarter, the months of July-September, because of a rise of crime in the summer.

Boren says the recent spurt of shootings and killings is part of a cyclical trend that the city sees just about every year.

“You see the up's and downs, you see the spirals, you see the hills and valleys when you're charting some of these crimes,” said Boren. “It happens every year, not just one year. Every year we deal with this.”

Friday's murder marks 14 for the year in Columbus. It puts the city on-pace to surpass the 22 from last year, but Chief Boren asks you to keep things in perspective, saying Montgomery, a city with a similar size and 100 more officers, had 50 murders last year.

>>December 23, 2012: Columbus homicide rate higher than average; short of record

“Yes we do have a fair number of crimes in Columbus,” said Boren. “That's the reason the police department is here, that's the reason we're making the arrests that we do everyday.”

Many of those murders have been cleared with an arrest. Only 2 of the 14 homicides this year remain open, Friday's murder and the fatal shooting of Marcus King at the Carousel Lounge in April.

As for other crimes, Boren says his office is using intelligence led policing to help bring down the crime, a system that's been in place a little over a year and a half. Officers mark hot spots with areas of crime and then put special details in those areas.

Boren says pairing that system with a strong drug unit is key because most crimes have a relationship to drugs. He says citizens play a big part in fighting crime as well, asking everyone to be aware of their surroundings and call 911 if there's a problem or anything that seems suspicious.

“We have to have citizens, this is a joint effort, we have to have their eyes and their ears, without them we cannot function,” said Boren.

>>July 10, 2014: Columbus still working to address officer shortage

One of the challenges his office has run into is hiring and keeping officers. He says the crime rate would be lower with more officers, but the police department has never been able to fill the 488 officers the department is budgeted for. However, the chief remains optimistic because a new officer recruiting campaign has led to a recent increase in new officer hires.

David Hurst

David Hurst, a graduate of the Univ. of Georgia, is News 3's nightside reporter.
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