Student robbed near Five Points in 2011 reflects on how area has changed

Police are hoping the public can help them change that image in Five Points.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) -- "I have such a clear picture in my head of the laser pointers that were on the guns, on my friends faces," said Taylor Singmaster.

The memories of December 10, 2011 have stuck with Singmaster like it was yesterday.

The University of South Carolina student says she and six of her friends were heading out for a fun night in Five Points that night, but before they reached the entertainment district they were followed by two men.

"All of sudden they just sped up and walked past us and they got a good 20 feet before they turned around," said Singmaster.

According to a police report, the men pointed guns at the group and demanded their purses and shouted we are going to shoot you.

At first, Singmaster and her friends were unsure of what was happening.

"We were like, 'Is this a joke?' And they said, 'Nope,' and pulled out guns," added Singmaster.

Cpl. Scott Stover focuses on crime prevention for the Columbia Police Department and wants people to know police have a plan.

"We do want citizens to know we do have a plan and it's good to know you do see the officers out here," said Stover.

He says even with increased patrols in Five Points, the large crowds in the bar district make it difficult to prevent crimes.

"The citizens who are down here having a good time. We need them to be our eyes and ears to see if they see something that doesn't look right; come to an officer, report that, or call 911 immediately. Help us stop it before it ever starts," said Stover.

Stover also points out crooks are looking for targets in entertainment districts. Wearing fancy jewlery or showing off big wads of cash could make you a victim.

"They are going to prey on people...people who's awareness level has been dropped due to the alchol," said Stover.

Singmaster says she and her friends used to go to Five Points regularly, but now avoid the area.

"I've got friends who graduated a year before me that are like, 'Lets go to Five Points,' and I'll bring them down and everyone has the same reaction, 'What has happened?" added Singmaster.

Police are hoping the public can help them change that image in Five Points.

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