COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan confirms the city has reached its 50th homicide of the year. With three months still left in 2021, Columbus has already surpassed last year’s total of 44. News 3 spoke with Mayor Skip Henderson about the spike in homicides this year.
Henderson says this influx of crime in Columbus is a microcosm of what has been going on across the country. He applauds the responsiveness of officers and sheriff’s deputies despite the shortage of staff that impacts their ability to get from call to call.
Henderson says he stays in contact with local law enforcement on a regular basis, and says they are using tag readers and predictive analytics to get ahead of retaliatory crimes. He also says it’s important to press on with diligent policing, though getting to the root of the problem starts at home and starts with changing the culture.
“We continue to look for long term fixes because what’s going to fix this is strengthening families,” Henderson said. “Trying to develop character in these young folks, trying to get them to understand that confrontation doesn’t have to be decided by pulling the trigger.”
Henderson still considers Columbus a safe community overall, but he says there are pockets of the community that are hurting. Whether the crimes are drug related, weapon related or sparked by disagreement or disrespect — a majority of this violence is between people that know each other.
Henderson also says, “if you see something, say something.” Through community policing, people can let officers know about a potential threat ahead of time, which is an opportunity to stop a crime before it happens. People can submit anonymous tips to Crime Stoppers at (706)-653-3188 or by texting VACS plus a message to 274637 (CRIMES).