COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook, the community and City Councilman Moe Baddourah will address safety in Five Points during a public meeting on Tuesday.
The public meeting held at the Lourie Center on Park Circle at 5:30 p.m. and will be a time for the community to give their thoughts on how to move forward.
Columbia City Councilman Moe Baddourah, who represents the district, says the meeting is in response to the death of UofSC student Samantha Josephson. He adds this is a way for community, police and city council to think of ways to increase safety and security.
Many who enjoy Five Points want to add some recommendations and say it starts with law enforcement and businesses in the area.
“I just think more police presence, more law enforcement officers in the area. I think that would send those who come here to do bad, I think that would send them away, I think it would turn them around,” Five Points regular David Britt said.
“Bars and stuff take a little more responsibility with their patrons sometimes if they know they’re completely inebriated, to where they can’t actually physically walk out of the bar or order an uber properly for themselves, so that would definitely help their patrons,” another Five Points visitor said.
During the meeting, Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook highlighted efforts they have taken to make Five Points safer, handing out data that shows violent crimes have decreased.
"We need everybody to step up and do what the right thing is to do in their areas of responsibility, ours is enforcing the law. We've reduced simple assaults, fights, car break-ins, but we need our business partners to do their due diligence," Holbrook said.
Holbrook also spoke about businesses who overserve and their work to combat nuisance behavior of alcohol establishments. He added that at night those that frequent Five Points are underage, drink underage and are overserved and saying it is a culture that needs to change.
Community members also expressed concern about what more can be done to add businesses, they say, are different than bars to the area.
Baddourah says he was a little disappointed that the meeting was not heavily attended, but he says it served an important purpose.
"I think this meeting changes, or gives the council members data and ideas on how to move forward. We can go back to council members and say this is the ideas that we want to, this is the laws that we want to pass to give the chief the tools that he needs."
Baddourah says the council will look in to adding another safe pick up and drop off area and possibly adding some sort of barricade to keep people in crosswalks.
Baddourah also said he had some recommendations on the topic of safety and security in Five Points, but said he wanted to wait until after the meeting before he makes his full recommendations.