Updated case information
The Columbia Police Department says that, while overall crime is down, the amount of violent crime reported in the Five Points district has increased by 22 percent this year compared to this same time last year.
The department released the numbers a few days after a particularly violent weekend in the entertainment district near the University of South Carolina campus. That included gunshots and two mob fights. One of those fights was recorded on a cell phone Sunday morning and posted online. The video, which showed a group of black youth attacking a 21-year-old white male and cheering on the attack, led to an uproar in the Columbia community.
One man has been arrested in that incident, 21-year-old Stanley McBride. Police are also looking for two students from nearby Benedict College in relation to the attacks.
“We have to act,” Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott told reporters Tuesday. ”We have to change the mindset that you can come to Five Points and victimize people.”
While Columbia police say overall crime has fallen in Five Points by 25 percent since last year, they say the amount of reported violent crime has increased by 22 percent. Sunday’s attack was the latest of several high-profile crimes in the district. It came roughly 15 months after eight black teens brutally assaulted 18-year-old Carter Strange as he jogged through the area.
That June 2011 attack led to a curfew in Five Points for those under age 17. The city had already begun enforcing a 2 a.m. closing time for most bars in the district a month earlier.
Officials in Columbia say they plan to increase police presence in the Five Points district after USC football games. Police Chief Randy Scott says the number of officers on duty will be doubled to 40 officers for of USC’s Oct. 6 game against Georgia.
“When we win that game, this place will erupt. This will be a busy place,” Scott said, “We’re already planning… to be able to handle that situation.”
He says in the future he’s even considering closing some streets, using police dogs, and cracking down on the required 2 a.m. bar closings.