Gang problems on the rise

Florence County, SC - FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - SLED Director Reginald Lloyd told members of the Florence Rotary Club Monday that violence from gangs and illegal drug activity are on the rise and it is not just a big city problem anymore.

Lloyd says illegal activities are crossing into new territories, like white collar crimes, and it is going to take a team effort to stop it.

"These are guys who are hell-bent on furthering their financial goals and unfortunately they're doing that in an illegal manner," Lloyd said. "For us it's a statewide problem and it's one that we've got to work with local as well as federal agencies to attack."

Lloyd says even public places are becoming less safe as more people get involved in these types of activities.

"They have ongoing disputes and unfortunately those guys decide to settle those by shooting at each other," Lloyd added. "Unfortunately, sometimes very innocent people get hit."

Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone says because of gangs, he has seen violent crimes and drug activity rise. He says it is important for communities to rally behind and report activities they see.

"You know the majority of the crime we're seeing is either gang on gang or drug deal on drug dealer, but we're supposed to protect them too," Boone said. "The majority of the violence is where we're seeing those kinds of areas."

Boone says the gang problem in Florence and Florence County is better after he and the Florence Police chief worked together to combat the problem. But he does admit there is still a problem out there.

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