COLUMBIA (WACH) - Columbia's Five Points is picture perfect for Mattie Crow on a November day, but she says when night falls the popular entertainment district takes a turn for the worse.
"My freshmen year I don't think I heard about anybody getting shot, now it's like a pretty common thing. I have friends that have gotten mugged and robbed at gun point," said Crow.
Crow is a senior at the University of South Carolina and enjoys unwinding in Five Points.
She says on week nights you'll find the hospitality district full of college students and young professionals shopping, eating or drinking.
But when the weekend comes the nights aren't so safe.
"We're there to insure a safe environment," said
Major Melron Kelly .
Major Kelly oversees the Five Points patrols for the Columbia Police Department.
On any night his officers are out in numbers patrolling in cars and on foot.
Kelly says having high visibility is key but they also have unmarked cars and undercover officers working their way through the area.
"A small percentage of people come down there to cause trouble. A large percentage of the patrons leave in an orderly fashion and very small incidents are reported," adds Kelly.
A string of high-profile crimes have given a black eye to the entertainment district.
The beating of Midlands Tech student Josh Bosworth and the recent shooting of USC freshman Martha Childress has a community searching for solutions.
Mattie Crow was there the night Childress was wounded.
"It was a Saturday, so it was really crowded and I'm pretty sure that's the last time I've come down on a Saturday.
I actually left 30 minutes before the shooting but every bar was just really crowded and there were people everywhere loitering," adds Crow.
Major Kelly says the later it gets at night the younger the crowds get in Five Points and adds the entertainment district is very seasonal and peaks during college football season.
"The lines were worse than they ever been and that's just even more dangerous waiting on the streets for hours to get into bars,".