Benjamin calls ‘Urgent Community Meeting on Crime Control’

This just in from Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin:

Urgent Community Meeting on Crime Control

Dear ,

I’m sure you know an innocent young woman was shot early Sunday morning while waiting for a taxi in the Five Points area — the victim of a stray bullet fired by a career criminal.
As the father of two girls, I was heartbroken and outraged by this senseless act of violence. Our prayers are with the young victim and her family. And our minds must now be focused on what more we can do to make the Five Points area and our entire City safer.
Fortunately, the new video cameras we recently installed in the Five Points area helped our City police quickly identify the suspect. But even more aggressive prevention is needed.
We’ve endured far too many of these tragedies in Columbia. A precious 4-year-old girl injured in a gang shooting while watching television in her living room. A hard-working mother of four killed while providing for her family at a local bakery. These are painful reminders of the battle we are fighting in every corner of our city to get repeat violent offenders off our streets.
For that reason, I am inviting you and all our neighbors to attend a special community meeting this Wednesday, October 16, at 5:30pm at the Columbia Police Department’s PACE Team Headquarters (Food Lion Parking Lot), 1001 Harden Street, to talk about new ideas and solutions to make our City safer and more secure.
We are making progress in crime control. We now have a fully funded police department, we’ve restored first responder budget cuts and we’ve cut overall crime rates including violent crimes. To brief you, here is a list of several reforms I’ve been working on as Mayor. For example, we’ve called for…
  • A citywide crackdown on gang violence with new resources for our Anti-Gang Task Force.
  • A campaign to get illegal guns off of the streets.
  • Aggressive prosecution of violent crimes to the full extent of the law, while ending the revolving door that puts thugs back on our streets to strike again.
  • A new policy to keep politicians away from crime scenes, keep politics out of law enforcement and ensure public trust in our police department.
Clearly, we need to do more. That’s why we need to hear your ideas, comments and suggestions for ways to do better. Most of all, we all need to stand together and work together as one city–to make Columbia safer for all of our families to live, work and play.
Please join us Wednesday at five-thirty in the afternoon at the CPD PACE Team HQ at 1001 Harden St. I look forward to seeing you.
In service,
Mayor, City of Columbia
P.S. — If you can’t make the meeting on Wednesday and have something you would like to share, please email me at

10 thoughts on “Benjamin calls ‘Urgent Community Meeting on Crime Control’

      1. Doug Ross

        The issue of young, black males who lack significant parental guidance. The shootings in Five Points are a symptom, not the problem. The problem isn’t going to go away, just because the symptom is dealt with in one area.

  1. Kathryn Fenner

    Urgent seems awfully over the top. Nothing has changed, except for that poor girl, her loved ones, and the perps….

  2. Barry

    Community meetings are not going to help situations where violent felons (as in this case) spend almost no time in jail and are out looking to settle scores and create problems for innocent people.

    The Mayor might as well go bang his hand against a concrete wall- or – as in this case- call for urgent meetings so voters know he’s working hard.

    1. Barry


      APRIL 2010: First-degree burglary, reduced to second-degree burglary. Two years of probation

      OCTOBER 2011: First-degree burglary and grand larceny, reduced to second-degree burglary and grand larceny. Serves 10 months in prison for violating probation. When he gets out, he is sentenced to 10 years, suspended to the time he had served on the first charge, with no time for the second charge. He is put on an additional probation for three years.

      JULY 2013: Obstructing justice, a charge by the State Law Enforcement Division. The charge was dropped on SLED’s recommendation.

  3. Kathryn Fenner

    Let’s try to keep an accurate perspective. This perp had a history of burglaries, which while classified as violent crimes, are not gang banging thuggery. He resorted to getting his (stolen) gun to settle a score after a night of drinking. This is hardly behavior unique to the black underclass.

    The young woman was apparently not drinking, and had taken her visiting friend to the Pita Pit and was responsibly calling a cab when she was hit, instead of walking through our neighborhood. Of course, being out that late is not wise, but her behavior was hardly egregiously irresponsible.


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