Letter to the editor: Practical policing, accountability can help lower crime in our area


Thank you, Speaker Smith and Mayor Merchant, for highlighting the rising violent crime and murders in Sumter and the Midlands. It's crucial for high-level state officials to openly and actively support efforts to combat these persistent and growing problems in our region.

Statistics show that the streets of Sumter, Orangeburg and many other small cities in the Midlands are less safe per capita than some of the world's most dangerous cities. This demands immediate attention.

While no government program can resolve this issue alone, the government and the individual citizens who comprise the affected communities must play a critical role in assisting with criminal investigations and addressing the root causes of crime: broken families, broken communities and a culture that doesn't seem to care much about those who are being left behind.

The real power lies in our collective action to empower individual citizens through meaningful education, employment and robust law enforcement, including public engagement and participation. This is where we will see long-term declines in violent crime. Given the seriousness of the issue, it demands immediate attention.

One practical method to address the rising violent crime rates in Sumter and the surrounding areas is the "Broken Windows" policing strategy. This strategy is based on the idea that visible signs of disorder, such as broken windows, graffiti or litter, can lead to increased crime in the area. By addressing these small problems, law enforcement can create an environment discouraging further criminal behavior. This proactive approach has proven effective in reducing crime and improving overall community safety, giving us hope for a safer future.

Like our local school systems, we cannot expect safety in Sumter and the Midlands without strict law enforcement. Excellence cannot be scheduled while promoting mediocrity through relaxed accountability policies and laws. Consider me a loud advocate for bringing strict accountability to every level of government and holding those accountable who are brazenly breaking our laws. As Speaker Smith stated, law enforcement is a bedrock institution in our society, and it cannot stand without it.

Without strict accountability, nothing changes.


Sumter School Board Trustee - Area 8

Candidate, S.C. Senate District 36