Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Back in July, residents in the Eau Claire Community met to voice their concerns, and reconvened tonight to see what City of Columbia and Richland County had done to address them.
"We have got to present a united front," community official Henry Hopkins told the crowd.
It's just one part of the way the Eau Claire community plans to stop the crime on their streets and in their homes. They brought those who are on the front lines of the fight in for a panel discussion, to find out how, or if, they're winning the battle.
"We had our first of four meetings with what we created as the North Columbia Apartment Managers' Coalition," Capt. Melron Kelly with the Columbia Police Department tells the group, "It was a very frank discussion on the issues that we've been running into."
From that meeting, Columbia Police say one complex started a crime watch and another agreed to hire extra security guards to keep residents safe. Adds Kelly, "Also, reopened the Lattimore Manor police substation, which had been closed for about three and a half to four years. Just a place where officers can spend time, walk the community. It's very important that we get out of those cars and walk and be seen in the area."
Another important crime deterrent according to Eau Claire Community Council officials is explained by Executive Director Reggie McKnight, "Having a nosy neighbor. When a neighbor is nosy, they call other people. They ultimately call the police."
Some residents still argue that enough is not being done, like one woman who said her home was broken into back in March for the second time. "I'm still waiting on the Columbia Police Department to talk to me," she told the law enforcement on the panel.
It's a goal that city, county and community officials are still working toward along with residents.
Another big issue at the meeting was surveillance cameras - some are being installed on a few of the major roads in the community. But residents looking for them in their neighborhoods have a longer wait, as both money and technical issues could stand in the way.