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      Cameras and patrols stepped up during St. Pat's in Five Points

      Security cameras in Five Points

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Five Points will overflow with people celebrating St. Pat's Saturday, and police are stepping up patrols to be ready. Businesses are also getting involved by putting out extra security cameras.

      Planning for the festival starts in April, and Merritt McHaffie with the Five Points Association says police are involved in every step of the planning process.

      "It is very important to have police involved in everything that we do because it is such a large festival," she says.

      Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott says they will be out in full force. Scott says 60 of his officers will be at the party from start to finish.

      "It's not our goal to make arrests and keep people in jail but at the same time we are going to keep the patrons who want to have a good time and want to be safe we are going to do that," Scott says.

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      According to the Five Points Association, last year there were fewer than 10 people arrested and taken into custody of more than 30,000 people in the area.

      Merritt McHaffie says "we like to think we run a tight ship we have no tolerance for under age drinking we have no tolerance for severe intoxication we have cops on every single corner you can think of to ensure everybody's public safety."

      "If you are under age or over consuming or you are a bar taking the chance on over-serving law enforcement will be out there because that will prevent incidents from happening," Scott adds.

      You will see officers on the streets, but those are not the only eyes on you. Cameras are scanning the area. Chief Scott calls them a great service to law enforcement.

      "You can't put a dollar amount on the amount of crimes we have been able to solve because of those cameras being here in Five Points," Chief Scott says.

      The cameras belong to the businesses, not police. Business owners and police work together with the technology to prevent crime.

      Columbia Police are working with Highway Patrol and Richland County to patrol the streets around Five Points this weekend.

      Does security have enough presence in Five Points for the popular annual Irish festival? Or is it too much? Let us know what you think about the increased protection during St. Pat's.