- Monday April 11th, 2011 :: 05:57 p.m. EDT
“Building Unity in the Community” Keeping our Neighborhoods Safe By Maintaining Relationships With Residents
By Sheriff Leon Lott
As your Sheriff, I applaud efforts to keep our communities safe by staying engaged and involved in what's happening with our neighbors. An example of this effort can be seen in several Richland County communities
The Greenview neighborhood is one of the oldest, most time-honored areas where most residents are involved in an established neighborhood crime-watch group led by Lonnie Simpson. He's the President of the Greenview Communities Crime and Safety group. Sitting in the home he inherited from his parents, Simpson talks about why he became an advocate for the area in 2009.
"What really made a difference was all the crime in the community. It made me want to try and get this area back to where it belongs," says Simpson.
I am proud to say the Richland County Sheriff's Department has maintained a strong relationship with residents like Simpson. For the past two years, Lieutenant Dave McRoberts with the Community Services Division has been focusing on maintaining law and order in that area.
"It's important to make contact with citizens in the community who can help identify problems in the area," says McRoberts. "You don't have many neighborhood Presidents like Simpson that will call when they see something is up."
Johnnie Mae Medlock lives on Easter Street. "The Sheriff's Department has done a beautiful job keeping it safe and quiet. You can feel safe walking around."
Lt. McRoberts often takes time during his patrol to stop and talk with the residents of Greenview.
"That's my man right there," says Medlock. "He's wonderful!"
McRoberts says a trusting relationship between law enforcement and the citizens like Medlock and Simpson is key to a safer neighborhood.
"Since we started patrolling this area there has been a decrease in the number of shootings, break-ins and loud traffic," says McRoberts.
Both McRoberts and Simpson agree that the more people involved in looking out for criminal activity, the better.
"I want to bring this place back to peace and quiet," says Simpson.
In order to “Build Unity in the Community” it is important to hold events where residents can come together, get to know each other and share information. This could ultimately make a big difference in all communities. So please join the Greenview Community on Saturday April 16th for a parade to bring the Greenview community together. Residents should meet at Greenview Plaza at 8:30 AM. The event is free.
Citizens can access important information about crime prevention, free safety training and community resources at:
Richland County Sheriff's Department
5623 Two Notch Road
Columbia, SC 29223
Community Service Division