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      Organizations join forces to clean up criminal activity

      Several organizations joined together to help get rid of crime in one Columbia neighborhood for good.

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Several organizations joined together to help get rid of crime in one Columbia neighborhood for good.

      The Columbia Police Department teamed up with the U.S. Attorney's Office and several church volunteers to clean up the Four Season's Apartment Complex on School House Rd. Participants picked up trash, cut down brushes from trees, removed graffiti, and set up new security cameras around the buildings.

      The complex has a history of drug dealers meeting there at night. Officers say in the past, suspects would just run through holes in the fence and hide in the wooded areas.

      U.S. District Attorney for South Carolina Bill Nettles said the changes will drastically reduce illegal activity.

      "In the past, the way we dealt with areas like this is just come in and arrest everybody," Nettles said. "What we are doing instead is taking the bad apples out, but also provide a lot of social services."

      Nettles said a similar project is also underway at Gonzalez Gardens; along with another Charleston neighborhood.