Columbia sees increase in violence, decrease in offenders’ age

(Graphic: WKRN)

COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WKRN) – Violence among teenagers is a problem across the country—a big-city issue that’s trickling into smaller towns as well.

In Columbia, law enforcement have been hit by the number of cases involving teenagers as violent offenders.

At the Sky Mart convenience store, two teenagers robbed the clerk and beat the 45-year-old for no

At the Silver Screen video store, a 16-year-old pointed a gun at the owner while his older brother punched the employee. Police say they needed gas money.

At the Discount Tobacco store, two suspected teenagers rushed the clerk and pistol-whipped the frightened man.

(Courtesy: Columbia Police Department)

Detectives told News 2 they are seeing an ominous trend where the level of violence is increasing while the age of the offender is going down.

“It is crazy and scary,” said Lt. Josh Davis. “As a police department moving toward community policing, we want to be in touch and have positive influences with these kids, but you have to be concerned that every child has a gun, at 16 years old.”

Lt. Davis continued, “That’s a hard balance to make, to have that soft approach, that mentor like mentality, but yet at the same time, it is a real thing we have to deal with. They could be armed.”

While the Sky Mart and Silver Screen crimes have been solved, the case of the Discount Tobacco pistol-whipping remains open.

Anyone with information on their whereabouts is asked to call Columbia police at 931-560-1670 or Crime Stoppers at 931-381-4900.