SLED agents added to Five Points patrols this weekend - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

SLED agents added to Five Points patrols this weekend

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

SLED agents will be added to the operational plan for Five Points this weekend after meetings between city officials, the University of South Carolina, law enforcement, and the community.

It's all in response to the early Sunday shooting that left USC freshman Martha Childress paralyzed.

The weekend is just two days away and the city is already preparing for what they'll do to make this area safer.

Uniform patrol officers in Five Points this weekend will be joined by traffic enforcement and SLED agents to prevent violence. Suggestions of closing the area down to traffic are still being mulled over.

"That's something that will really have to have an engaged conversation with the merchants about and the way that it effects their businesses," said Mayor Steve Benjamin.

The Five Points Association has discussed it before.

"They looked at the logistics and what it would mean and the sort of repercussions that it would have on the businesses, and they voted on it at that point and voted against it, but we are willing to cooperate, and we understand if that's something the community wants to see we're willing to consider," said Amy Beth Franks, executive director of the Five Points Association.

The long term effort will put the focus blocks away at the State House, focused on bond reform.

"The common thread that you'll see not just here, but of interest in Charleston and Greenville, and Sumter and other places is that those who commit the most heinous crimes commit them over and over and over again and we have to find some way to shut that door," said Benjamin.

Crime numbers for the last five years in the Five Points area show what were the big problems: aggravated assaults and larcenies or thefts three years ago are down significantly; aggravated assaults were cut by over two thirds and larcenies by just less than a half. Still, the Five Points Association urges you to be cautious.

"Stay in well lit areas, travel in a group, utilize the resources that we have down here," said Franks.

The Five Points Association board will meet Friday at 2:00 p.m. to consider some of those suggestions their merchants have made. They tell us nothing is off the table.

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