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‘I’m ready to move’: Residents in a crime-plagued Columbia neighborhood fed up after recent murder

(Source: WIS)
Updated: Jan. 2, 2019 at 8:20 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - As the year starts, one area in Columbia is seeing yet another murder investigation.

The 29203 zip code has seen the majority of the police’s homicide investigations. It’s seen 11 of the city’s 16 homicides. Police spend a lot of time in this area. In 2018, there were at least 50 aggravated assaults, more than 25 armed robberies, and more than 10 sexual assaults.

Residents want solutions that will quickly fix the crime problem. We spoke with Sabrina Harley, a mom who said she and her family doesn’t feel safe. They want to leave.

“The crime rates increased in the area, so letting my kids come outside, is minimal,” Harley said.

Harley lives just houses down from Columbia Police’s latest homicide investigation that has not yielded any arrests.

“I haven’t been here a year yet and I’m ready to move. I’m actually looking at some other options because my kids need to be able to play in a safe environment,” Harley said.

Just a stone’s throw from McRae Street, there are two other homicide locations in about a two-mile radius. From there, the numbers grow. Shawn McCutchen, a frequent visitor to the area, said this is something has to change.

“You look at the numbers and it’s like, well something isn’t working. Maybe, the only thing I can think of would be maybe more forums or discussions between law enforcement and the community,” McCutchen said.

A community meeting held in November along with a partnership between other organizations and police is a starting point that will focus on mentoring youth. It’s a group that we’ve been told could face gang recruitment or be a part of crime. The goal is to eliminate those elements on a generational level.

“It’s just hard to navigate through. It’s a lot of people involved and, like I say, it’s a big trust issue,” McCutchen said.

However, those who are a part of this new movement said measurable outcomes might take years, leaving others like Harley to do what is best for their family.

Serve and Connect is one of several organizations working to bridge the gap between community and police in the 29203 zip code. Serve and Connect is planning on more community meetings in March and May when data comes in on how to best help the community become stronger and overcome any crime problem.

If you have any information on the New Year’s Eve shooting on McRae Street, you’re asked to call Crimestoppers. You will stay anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward. That number is 1-888 CRIME SC.

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