Security beefs up Downtown Florence

FLORENCE, SOUTH CAROLINA (WMBF) Surveillance cameras and more police patrols are lowering crime in Downtown Florence.

"This is a safe neighborhood, as records show this is one of the safest neighborhoods in all Downtown Florence," said James Kennedy.

James Kennedy is a contractor with one of the dozens of work crews refurbishing Downtown Florence. He says local police efforts have helped rid the area of crime that used to be a problem here.

And business owners agree.

"The police patrol the street day and night.They have a police station down at the corner of Dargan and Evans. It's been safe down here because it's more public, people feel more confident," Patrick Showalter

Patrick Showalter owns a soap shop downtown. He says those patrol efforts keep him from worrying about his business being vandalized and broken into.

"That's pretty nice I've had shops in other areas and I'd get the calls at night which wasn't nice, but down here I don't worry about it," said Showalter.

Eleven security cameras watch the downtown corridor and also give business owners peace of mind.

"Since the inclusion of the cameras, we have had a couple of copper thefts that we were able to actually identify the vehicles," said Allen Heidler, Interim Florence Police Chief.

And police say they have made arrests because of what those cameras caught.

Interim Police Chief Allen Heidler says for the most part Downtown Florence doesn't see much crime- and he says to make sure that trend continues the department is undergoing restructuring.

"We are configuring a different shift that will not only afford us the opportunity to put officers down there permanently assigned to that specific area," said Heidler.

Heidler added the new change will also assign officers to specific areas around the City of Florence.

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