91
      Friday
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      CPD, City leaders stepping up efforts against violent crime

      "When you look at the family members and you look into their eyes and you look at their tears and you see the fact that they have been changed forever it doesn't change a thing, we need to think about them and not forget them," said Santiago.

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Columbia's interim police chief Ruben Santiago taking a firm stand against violent crime in Five Points and the rest of the city.

      "When you look at the family members and you look into their eyes and you look at their tears and you see the fact that they have been changed forever it doesn't change a thing, we need to think about them and not forget them," said Santiago.

      The acting police chief putting anyone committing crime in Columbia on notice.

      He hopes to see improvements in lighting in the entertainment districts, signs pointing out cameras are in use and hopes one day to have officers dedicated to monitoring an intricate camera system that is watching the capital city.

      "Having that monitoring system would be great, but it's going to take a lot of effort, it's going to be something that we need to figure out financially we can do and how it's going to be a factor when it comes to preventing crime," adds Santiago .

      Mayor Steve Benjamin is zeroing in on gangs.

      He's fighting for a plan to prevent gang members from being in select parts of the city.

      Benjamin says civil injunctions are similar to restraining orders and known gang members would face a judge, who will decide if they are allowed in areas considered safety zones.

      "They can't pass through there, drive through there and if they do it gives officers the authority to stop them, to search them, to take them into custody if necessary," said Benjamin.

      Injunctions have seen success in several states including California, Texas and Utah.