"We Hate For What Happened To Martha To Happen Again"

11:32 PM, Oct 21, 2013   |    comments
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Martha Childress

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Monday, for the first time since 18-year old Martha Childress was shot in Five Points, USC students came together to talk about how the crime problem can be fixed.

"We all want to have a safe time in Five Points and we hate for what happened to Martha to happen again because we let this issue die," said a USC Senior.

USC students talked about ways to stop the crimes that happen in the area, one idea was to have officers ride around with their lights on to detour crime before it happens.

Another idea was for the university to have a shuttle to safely take students back to campus but some students don't agree with the idea of having roads closed in efforts to monitor who comes in and out of the area.

"You would only have people victimizing themselves to walk back and forth from their cars and if people know that's where your car is parked, break-ins and robberies and assaults would increase as well," said a USC Junior.

Members of the Greek community are organizing a "Not So Thirsty Thursday" at the fields behind the Strom Fitness Center to send a message that students stand with Martha and are against crime in the area.

"A member of our community is paralyzed so we just want to show her that we aren't taking this lightly and we want to make a difference for her and the future students that come to the university so this does not happen again," said Amanda Cosenza.

Also Monday night the candidates for Mayor of Columbia held a forum on USC's campus.

They spoke about why they should be elected and addressed the safety concerns in Five Points and around the city.

"We cannot ignore the fact that we have a violent crime problem in the city and we need to address that by hiring a police chief that understands how they can police an urban city and how they can police and maintain safety for everyone that lives in the city limits," said Councilman Moe Baddourah.

"Actively pursuing crime, pursuing gang members, one of the bullet points in my plan is to move from more of a uniform presence to a plain clothes presence to allow them to blend in better with the patrons in five points and sniff out crime before it starts in Five Points," said Larry Sypolt, candidate for mayor.

"We have continued to stress the importance of fighting violent crimes and repeat offenders and fighting gangs. We are going to continue doing that and we are going to stay the course. What we all want to see is more coordination between all agencies and making sure we don't have to wait for flash point issues to continue to get some progress," said Mayor Steve Benjamin.


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