CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- An Eastside pastor says that he and his neighbors are feeling safer after multiple men were arrested for allegedly selling crack cocaine and heroin.
“People do feel safer when they get folks on the street who are selling drugs, specifically crack cocaine and dangerous drugs that are going to cause health issues,” said Pastor Matthew Rivers, of St. Johns Church.
The Charleston Police Department (CPD) says that the drugs were sold by the alleged dealers across the neighborhood, but Mall Playground was a hot spot.
“The standard street level drug dealing. Guys on the street driving up to buy drugs and walking up to buy drugs. It’s just a nuisance over there,” said Lt. Thomas. “The citizens are bringing their children to play basketball at Mall Park. They shouldn’t have to be looking at drug deals going down on the corner.”
The investigation had no exact start date, but was spurred by multiple complaints from neighbors.
“We also talk with our patrol officers who are noticing things on the streets,” said Lt. Thomas.
CPD’s investigation is ongoing and their efforts are to take dealers away so overdoses decrease.
“If we can suppress it and drive out the drug dealers that will reduce the amount of purchases and drug overdoses that we’re seeing over there,” said Lt. Thomas. “We’ve seen an increase in overdoses in that area of town this year and last for that matter.”
The impact of drugs on the Eastside makes Pastor Rivers want to extend his help to others.
“It has a ripple effect in our community. It just tears families apart. It causes a big problem down the line,” said Pastor Rivers. “I have a lot of people I know who have the opportunity for jobs, schools and all these things. I think I need to be more active in helping these families help their sons and daughters.”
All but two of the accused are from the Eastside. The others are from North Charleston. Pastor Rivers says that regardless of where the alleged dealers come from he wants have people come together and take another step forward.
That opportunity could happen during National Night Out on the Eastside next week when Pastor Rivers wants people to recognize the progress of the neighborhood and CPD.
“I hope that we can formulate some ideas and not just have a show. But, formulate some ideas on how as a community do we get together and press forward and clean up our community of drugs,” said Pastor Rivers. “We need to take that on our own backs.”