Conway police aim to crack down on crime in Racepath neighborhood

The Racepath neighborhood where neighbors are concerned about safety. (Source: Audrey Biesk)
The Racepath neighborhood where neighbors are concerned about safety. (Source: Audrey Biesk)

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - A recent shooting and home burglary in Conway is causing concern for neighbors in the Racepath community.

For new police Chief Dale Long, his main goal is to help combat crime and create better relationships with the public.

Long is using his 25-plus years of law enforcement experience to raise the bar. He talked about a better policing model as he drove through the Racepath area, so people feel comfortable sharing information with police.

"I'm taking officers with me while we are patrolling these communities, such as Racepath between Wright Boulevard and Ninth Avenue. This is one of the areas I have already walked in and we are coming back for sure, because it's one of the largest patrol sectors in the city," Long said.

To help put names and faces together, Long has already done meet-and-greets throughout the neighborhoods, asking people for input or crime tips.

John Cox, a Racepath resident, is asking for more help from police after his home was broken into early last Friday morning.

"I woke up, the door was wide open, so I checked the cameras and the guy was in and out of my house for 20 minutes, so I called police," Cox said. "I don't want to be run out of my neighborhood but if I have stuff like that going on, I do have a wife and kids in the house and I can't have that, so it's going to cause me to sell the house and move."

Long noted the department put out still shots extracted from surveillance video, albeit not of very good quality. The chief said they were hoping someone may have seen something on the sidewalk around 3 a.m. Friday.

It was Cox who requested that police release the surveillance photos.

"Unfortunately, I would have to say the negative part of it is this is probably one of the communities we have probably the least amount of cooperation from the citizens back to us to give us information," Long said.

According to the 2016 FBI Uniform Crime Report, the most recent year data was available, there was 1,016 reports of property crime in Conway, 174 violent crimes and 805 reports of larceny.

Those stats were reported when the population of Conway was 21,874.

Long said there are around seven multi-housing units in the Racepath area and because of the dense population, the issue is a higher volume of calls for service.

"We are adopting more of what we call a patrol script to use the crime data imported into mapping programs and that data will give us the day of the week that is the high-call volume day - also the time of day - so we can start to focus on particular times the more crime is happening," Long said.

Cox is hoping to see more officers around his streets.

"I would like to see more officers patrolling the area and at two or three o'clock in the morning," he said. "When they see a group of people walking down the road, they should ask who they are and ID them and what business they have to walk down the road at that hour."

Long is encouraging everyone to join the meet-and-greet to voice concerns, ask questions or give recommendations. It is scheduled for Thursday, April 26, from 7:30 to 9 a.m., at the public safety building in Conway.

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