Amid recent violence on Longcreek Drive, elected officials & community leaders work to find solutions
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - As deputies investigate yet another homicide on Longcreek Drive, elected officials and community members are searching for solutions to the violence.
Tuesday’s shooting at the Park Apartments that left 26-year-old Adaam Abdussalam dead was the fourth homicide on Longcreek Drive in the last year.
In February, 19-year-old Saveon Robinson was shot and killed at the Park Apartments.
In November, two men were arrested and charged with murder at the Waters at Longcreek Apartments.
26-year-old DaQuan Davis was fatally shot in the 1600 block of Longcreek Drive in June of last year.
Richland County District 4 Councilman Paul Livingston, who represents the Longcreek Drive area, said the issue is top of mind for Council.
“Council is obviously very concerned about that, and we’re certainly trying to do all we can do to mitigate that particular situation,” he said. “I certainly appreciate the community involvement and informing us in terms of their concerns.”
Data from the Richland County Sheriff’s Department shows that there have been three murders in that area in 2018, two in 2019 and 2020 and seven in 2021.
Livingston said law enforcement has increased surveillance there in recent months.
The Broad River Business Alliance, a nonprofit of business leaders and community members, has requested to turn Longcreek Drive into a one-way street by cutting off any outlet to Cambout Street. The organization says doing so will make it harder for criminals to evade law enforcement.
“We need to limit the amount of access that criminals have to a particular area,” Javar Juarez, president of the Broad River Business Alliance, said. “We need to do our very best to concentrate our resources on the infrastructure of how that community operates. We have to make it uncomfortable for criminals.”
Livingston said County Council is currently looking into the possibility.
What may be more feasible, though, is not closing off the road, but having the outlet gated, he said.
This is due to the fact that emergency vehicles would still need an entry and exit point.
“We’ve had preliminary talks with SCDOT and the various departments in the county,” Livingston said. “Now we’re looking at the feasibility of doing it and the resources required to do it and so forth.”
According to Livingston, the problem of repeated crime in the Longcreek Drive area is larger than law enforcement and county government.
“This is an issue of mental health, it’s an issue of housing, it’s an issue of jobs, gangs, I think it’s a broad issue,” he said. “You know, we could make sure that do what we are responsible and can do, for example, we could gate the road and do a lot of things, but that’s not going to completely mitigate the problem. I think it’s a combination of things that we have to do. Everybody has to work together to resolve these issues.”
Juarez said he feels as though the community “doesn’t have much of a voice.” However, he has been impressed by the response from local organizations and community leaders.
“The South Carolina Democratic Party, the Richland County Democratic Party, the Kingswood Precinct and members of the St. Andrews NAACP, people like Johnnie Cordero, Mr. Johnathan Kirkwood, among many others are in our community trying to figure out what we as a community can do,” he said. “And I’m really happy that we as a community are stepping up.”
Socioeconomic factors must be addressed as well in order to reduce crime, Juarez said.
“Crime is just the ramifications of the negligence that exists in the system,” he said. “We’re dealing with very impoverished people that are disenfranchised, who are pushed to the brink, who are trying to survive. And until we as a community, as government, as agency begin looking at what those things are and how to facilitate those needs, crime will continue to rise.”
County Council will be briefed on the subject of Longcreek Drive by the Administrator at its meeting next Tuesday.
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