AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) — An Aiken neighborhood association is looking to improve its image. Three meetings will be held to discuss crime, increased police presence, overgrown lots, and neglected homes in Crosland Park. “We always hearing gunshots, not close by maybe a street or two over,” Joe Martin told NewsChannel 6’s Aiken Bureau Chief Shawn Cabbagestalk. “It’s definitely torment,” Stacey Croft added.

Croft says crime has been a big issue since visiting family in Aiken nearly a year ago. His brother’s death made it clear. “I’m very angry of what took place,” Croft shared. Then gunfire erupted outside his home — where he says hundreds of rounds stuck his property and took his family member’s life. Recently, a memorial in his brother’s memory was stolen. “They also went and messed up his grave, pushed his blanket around, kick his rocks over, and his candle lights over,” he recalled.

President of the Crosland Park Neighborhood Cooperative Gary Yount says crime has been the focal point of their conversations. “We have looked at the numbers,” he said. I do know that since the increased presence in the neighborhood, the number of shots fired calls has dropped,” he added.

New cameras, streetlights, and community meetings could jumpstart changes. Recent data from Public Safety show nearly 40 reported shooting incidents in the area. Officers also investigated about five reported burglaries. “You know, they put up what two cameras that’s gonna help on the very far end. We need something on this end. They need, I would say, at the least four more cameras,” Martin said. “I believe five of those cameras or camera equipment has been installed. Of course, the supply chain problems have slowed down that improvement, but some have been installed,” Yount shared.

At least three neighborhood meetings are planned. The next one will happen Tuesday, July 19. “We’ve got room for improvement. I think if we all work together, and I’m talking all the residents of Crossland Park, we can make it a much, much better neighborhood than it is now,” Yount added. “I wish my realtor was honest. He did not tell us about the neighborhood or we probably wouldn’t have bought the house. We took what we get,” Martin added.