AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) — Following a string of incidents in and around one neighborhood, community leaders are putting their heads together to turn a positive light on their community.
Members of Crosland Park Neighborhood Cooperative’s Operating Board, along with city officials, had the chance to come to the table to discuss recent events like crime, street lights, and an increase of vacant houses.
“Gary Yount is going to be having a meeting tomorrow with one of the city officials to go around and check to make sure the lighting is 600 feet away and right there at intersections,” James Simmons, Jr. told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk.
Simmons is one of the members of the operating board. He says that he believes city officials listened to their concerns. A neighborhood in Rock Hill , South Carolina faced similar challenges and have made changes to decrease crime problems. Officials are hoping to have a similar pilot program in Aiken.
“Their program was so successful that we’re trying to get them to come down and talk at our general meeting. Then we want to have a meeting with them and the city officials so maybe we can be the pilot program to start that here in Aiken and then let it spread throughout the communities,” he said.
We’ve learned from a South Carolina open records request that the Aiken Department of Public Safety has responded to a number of incidents in Crosland Park since last year. Most of those coming from vandalism, simple assaults, and shots fired.”What we have is one percent as far as real negativity in Crosland Park and that’s not within the people that live here that are coming from the outside coming in,” Simmons added.
An idea was thrown around of having a security company or public safety come to patrol the area on the weekends for about eight hours during the time crime peaks but money is shutting down that idea.
Another issue concerning parents with children, a safe way to travel to school route.
“Ties were put down for steps and a board was put down in front of it rather than it being concrete. Well, after wood has been there for a few years, it starts to decay so what’s decaying. We should have had lighting, we should have had sidewalks. There were a lot of things that were left opened and we are addressing those issues now,” Simmons added.
Simmons doesn’t add blame to anyone for the breakdown in the route not being fixed. But, with only about one percent of members of the second-largest community in Aiken county coming out to cooperative meetings, Simmons says that it all comes to strength in number when moving a community forward and getting issues fixed.
Meanwhile, the monthly cooperative meetings are held every third Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the resource center.