Columbia Police, Councilman Sam Davis warn residents to take precautions during holidays

Capt. Kellie Yates, CPD. Karamie Sullivan photo

By Karamie Sullivan

Columbia residents were given some holiday safety tips Monday night at a District One Holiday Safety Meeting.

Members of the Columbia Police Department and Columbia City Councilman Sam Davis hosted it.

As Christmas nears, there is an obvious increase in shopping and traveling and the potential for an increase in crime rates.

Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook along with other members of the CPD began the meeting giving an overview of crime statistics from the past year.

Overall, we’re down five percent in our crime rate ,which is great. Typically it’s the other way around,” Chief Holbrook said. “I think it’s a testament to the work these men and women are doing out here.”

According to Holbrook, there were 138 gun seizures for 2017 in the District One region of Columbia. This district covers the north region of the city along with a portion of the west area around Columbiana Mall. Other statistics for the region include 1,848 arrests, and 55,290 police calls requiring a response.

After the initial overview, Capt. Chris White and Capt. Kellie Yates gave residents important tips for keeping themselves, and their belongings, safe during the holidays. Many people leave their cars idling in the driveway in the morning to warm it up before work. White advised against that, saying, “Most auto break-ins happen right at your front door.”

Leaving the keys in the ignition while stepping away from your unlocked car gives an open opportunity for someone to take advantage of that, according to White and Yates.

Other vehicle safety tips include parking in well lit areas, removing valuable items from your car (or moving them to the trunk), and not hiding your keys inside your vehicle.

Additionally, if you are traveling out of town, the officers advise you to make your home look occupied, and do not allow daily deliveries of newspapers that will continue to build up.

Any house can be placed on property check when you are out of town. We’re happy to do it,” said Yates.

Davis also added, “Our hope here is that everyone has a safe holiday season.” He reminded residents that if anyone does see something out of the ordinary in their neighborhood, then they should notify the Columbia Police Department immediately.

We want to continue to lower crime rates in 2018, and we can use your help by being our eyes and ears,” said Yates.