Law enforcement agencies step up patrols for game day crowds in Five Points

Published: Aug. 29, 2014 at 2:38 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 8, 2014 at 2:19 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - At the Village Idiot in Five Points, Hunter Ligon is just proud to be a Gamecock.

"Even if we win or lose, Gamecock pride, no matter what!" Ligon said.

And Ligon predicts that Five Points is about to get wild.

"Everything's going to be crazy, man!" Ligon said.

With hundreds of students and visitors expected, the Columbia Police Department will have many officers in Five Points and in other hospitality districts around the city.

"In the past we have had some incidents down there, and going forward what we've done is try to lay the groundwork," said Deputy Chief Melron Kelly. "We've done that in several ways by having officers in plain clothes and in uniform as well as having officers on foot, on our motorized t3 vehicles on the perimeter of the neighborhoods."

In the past few years, the entertainment district has been in the headlines for several notable crimes.

But this time, Kelly not only hopes to fight crime, but prevent it altogether.

"What we do for every game is increase the number of officers that are working in a particular area," Kelly said. "It doesn't necessarily have to be a game but a parade or festival. Anytime there's a swell of population in a certain area, we intend to increase our law enforcement footprint."

Kelly said new safety measures are in place.

Besides the usual cameras, there are well lit places to catch shuttles.

"If you're trying to party, come down the Five Points in Columbia, South Carolina! USC Gamecocks all the way!" Ligon said.

Ligon said he definitely feels safe.

"Honestly, just stick with your friends and everything like that. Have a good time." Ligon said. "If you have a problem, just step away from it."

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