A recent series of break-ins reported in the Rosewood neighborhood have rattled the sense of security of the area’s residents, and on Thursday the city’s top cop heard all about their frustrations.
During the monthly meeting of the South Kilbourne Neighborhood Association, more than a dozen Rosewood residents told Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook they were irked by the number of home burglaries and thefts that have taken place in the area. More than 50 attended the meeting.
Holbrook attended with several officers, along with one who patrols the area, Kevin Schmidt. State Rep. Kirkman Finlay, R-Richland, was also there. And Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott sent several representatives, including Deputy Joe Clarke, an investigator with the agency.
Holbrook said additional officers have already been deployed to the area to address concerned residents. But he stressed the need to call police when something seems suspicious.
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“There’s no detail, in my opinion, that is too silly to report, especially in this day and age,” Holbrook said. “We all are in this together. We’ve got to communicate and support each other.”
Clarke, of the sheriff’s department, said the agency welcomes calls from the area’s retired residents who spend the majority of their time at home and know the neighborhood well.
“What I ask you to do is to be proactive and pick up the phone,” Clarke said. “If you’re not calling us, but complaining on Facebook, you are wasting your time.”
Sandra Hallman – who has lived in Rosewood since 1964 – said the neighborhood has changed so drastically in the past decade, she won’t even walk her dog to the nearby park when it’s dark.
“My quiet neighborhood has now turned into one with lots of petty crimes,” Hallman said. “It makes you suspicious every time you see somebody walking down the street.”
Schmidt listed crimes reported to the police department in the area in November, and a large number of them involved vehicles or homes being left unlocked. He underscored the need to secure both.
Several residents also expressed frustration with neighbors who report thefts and break-ins on a Facebook neighborhood group, but don’t share it with the police. Schmidt reiterated the need to call them.
“We’re hearing a lot of incidents are occurring, but we’re not getting any calls for them,” Schmidt said. “If we don’t get any calls in an area, we think it’s fine.”
David Nadler, an area resident of 12 years, argued the uptick in thefts is happening because neighbors don’t call when they see something suspicious.
“It’s my opinion that we have a sanctuary neighborhood,” Nadler said. “The reason why the incidents are happening is because they get away with it.”