COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Again and again, deadly shootings happen in the heart of the Midlands. It seems like we hear about them every day.
Take a look at these stunning numbers from the FBI. The latest available statistics from 2017 show there were 558 violent crimes per 100 thousand people in Richland, Lexington, Saluda, Kershaw, Fairfield and Calhoun Counties. In Charleston and surrounding counties, it was 412. In Charlotte, 416. In the Greenville-Anderson Counties area, the number was 486. And along the Grand Strand, including Myrtle Beach, it was 415.
Those numbers do nothing to ease the insecurity many feel. Earlier this week, we sat down for an extensive interview with Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook. Recently, the department unveiled ShotSpotter technology. It uses acoustic sensors to detect gunfire and alerts officers of the exact location. The results in just the short period since they began using it have already been eye-opening.
“Of those 131 alerts, there was over 300 shots fired, but of those alerts, a citizen only call 911 to report that gunfire 26 times. That’s alarming. We have to improve that communication with law enforcement, ” Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook said. “They don’t respect human life, they don’t respect themselves, that’s what we’ve got to stop, that’s why people need to take ownership, take their communities back.”
We know a lot of factors are at play. Drugs, gangs, lack of parenting and lack of economic opportunities to name just a few. There isn’t one easy solution. But there’s simply no room for silence. People are dying. Children are dying. We all need to show the courage to make that call to law enforcement and to cooperate with investigations.
If not, the violence will only continue and, possibly, get worse.
That’s My Take, What’s Yours?