Community and police partnership credited with reducing violent - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Community, police partnership credited with reducing violent crime cases

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CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Newly released records from the Conway Police Department show the number of violent crimes reported in the city is decreasing. That is good news for people who live along Highway 378 near Highway 501 that has been hit with a string of violence and gang activity in recent years.

"Just protecting the kids and stuff like that," said resident Debbie Thompson referring for what she believes should be the top priority for police in the area.

Thompson has lived in the same apartment complex for about three years. She said over time, things have gotten better and the crime level is not what it used to be thanks to increased police patrols.

"Their presence every hour coming through here and checking on everybody that stays out here in our neighborhood," added Thompson.

The renewed partnership between police and neighborhoods has been led by Sergeant Darren Alston who runs the department's program of community meetings and crime watches.

"We want to strike while its relatively quiet right now and still get everyone involved," said Sgt. Alston. "Conway city now has 39 sub community crime watch groups and we are pulling them all together before a tragedy happens."

From 2012 to 2013, the number of violent crimes reported in the city dropped. The crime with the biggest decrease was breaking and entering.

Sgt. Alston said community members have helped lower the number of crimes by speaking out about what they see.

"Nosey neighbors make the best neighbors," said Sgt. Alston. "I contribute a lot of the crime reduction as far as breaking and entering to neighbors being more alert to surroundings and reporting more stuff through me that I can get out to officers on patrol."

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