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This week, Richland deputies responded to a scene where 42 shots were fired, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said.
“That’s when the community becomes involved and they need to call us,” Lott said. “When they hear shots fired, they might not know exactly where it’s at, they might not see anyone, but they still need to call us.”
Community - Involvement - Violence - Theft - Repeat
Focusing on community involvement with reducing gun violence and theft as well as locking up repeat offenders were two reasons for the success of the Gun and Violent Crime Reduction Initiative, Lott and Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook said Wednesday afternoon.
The initiative took more than 1,400 guns off the streets and assisted in dropping the number of reported stolen guns to below a thousand in a year, the agencies reported.
Sheriff - Department - Columbia - Police - Initiative
The sheriff’s department and Columbia police began coordinating on the initiative in April 2017, freeing up their beat cops and detectives to communicate in order to bring down the number of guns circulating in the county and city. Officers began focusing on repeat offenders and talking with neighborhood residences to see who caused the trouble in their areas.
Enforcement was one part of the initiative while the second part was an educational component focused on pushing people to remove firearms from their cars and to lock them up safely.
Successes - Departments - Initiative - Lott - Guns
Successes prompted the departments to continue the initiative, Lott said. After taking in 1,463 illegal guns and seeing a reduction from 1,029 to 922 in stolen gun reports from April 2018 to April 2019, the initiative proved it should stick around a while longer.
While homicides ticked upwards in the city, aggravated assaults from guns were down, Holbrook said. People getting hit by bullets was down 20 percent, he said. He gave some of the credit for that decrease...
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