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 ColumbiaP.S. — If you can’t make the meeting on Wednesday and have something you would like to share, please email me at SKBenjamin@ColumbiaSC.net.