Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Wednesday, a public meeting was held to get comments from the public on what can be done to stop violent crime across the city and specifically Five Points.
The meeting was a result of 18-year old Martha Childress who was struck by a stray bullet while she waited for her cab in Five Points over the weekend.
USC President Harris Pastides has said Five Points isn't a safe place to be after midnight after the shooting.
"This is not a problem about black people against white people. It's about a criminal who shot an innocent person," said a member of the community at the meeting.
One by one members of the community lined up to voice their opinion on what needs to be done to fix the problems in Columbia's Five Points and while they spoke, city leaders took notes.
"I am 35-years old and had to convince my mom that I am safe at work," said Brian Haddock, General Manager of Kildares Bar.
"The customers in my bar aren't the ones coming out getting in the street, robbing people and beating them up."
Haddock says all of the bars in Five Points have a dress code and other rules. He believes the crimes are from those loitering outside the bars.
"They are harassing people, they are saying the most gross things, they are doing all these things and that is where the violence is coming from."
"There are ideas that I have written down that I would like to see implemented as well," said Columbia Police Chief Ruben Santiago.
Santiago took notes as community members talked about what needs to be done.
"Some of the ideas are adding lighting, changing traffic patterns. Right now I have at least two officers on every block and at any given time I have between 12-30 officers in Five Points so officer presence is not the issue."
Santiago says unfortunately his department is very good at catching criminals after the crime.
He says the focus needs to shift to prevent the crime from even happening.
"As soon as it happened we made the arrest, get the confession and also get the gun, again it sounds like a win but we are talking about a young lady who is now critically injured so what justice is that."
At the end of the meeting Mayor Benjamin said that he plans to have another public meeting within the next month.