Residents see progress in neighborhood cleanup - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Residents see progress in neighborhood cleanup

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"Of course you have to feel comfortable where you live at."

Many living in the Pinehurst community have not felt that way for a long time. But for Jameshia White, comfort is finding her again.

"Its been quieter since the cameras have been out here," she said. "There's not many people out here and there's not as much crime."

The mother of three says the area has calmed down in the last six months. In January the City of Columbia installed security cameras, removed visible signs of gang activity, and repaired a fence at the Four Seasons apartment complex, which has proved in the past to be a magnet for crime.

"It was basically an outdoor drug market," said resident Brenda Oliver. "The federal sweeps started a year ago, and this was kind of a culmination of it."

Saturday afternoon members of the neighborhood community council, residents like White and other volunteers rolled up their sleeves for some maintenance work on a what started in January.

Leading the initiative to keep the gangs out and minimize crime was U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles, who said the minor landscape changes have gone a long way.

"Its just as simple as putting up a fence," he said. "For a long time there was a thoroughfare here where they could easily come back and forth.

So with a fence, cameras and more frequent police patrols, residents can rest a little easier through the night.

"I feel comfortable where I live at," said  White. "I really do."

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