Charleston, S.C. (WCBD)- City leaders, law enforcement, and neighbors on the Eastside of downtown Charleston are working to make the neighborhood a safer place to live.
The city of Charleston’s Illumination Project hosted an Eastside Community Summit on Monday night at Second Presbyterian Church, in downtown Charleston, to unite the City of Charleston Police Department in a conversation with Eastside neighbors about what is needed to make the neighborhood a safer place to live.
Vernon Drayton has lived on downtown’s Eastside for more than sixty years. He says he has some concerns about the community he calls home.
“Drugs and crimes are affecting the neighborhood very much, but my main point is that we need to reach our kids before they become drug addicts, drug dealers, or whatever the case may be,” Drayton said.
During the Eastside Community Summit, law enforcement heard many neighbors share similar sentiments about crime in the neighborhood.
The project leader for Charleston’s Illumination Project, Rev. Dr. Kylon Middleton says that the time is now to strengthen the Eastside and eliminate crime.
“Something needs to be done and it needs to be done now,” Middleton said.
Middleton grew up on the Eastside and is working to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the people in his neighborhood.
“Helping community members recognize that community-oriented policing certainly becomes the solution to keeping our community safe and strong,” Middleton said.
Last month, a local chef was shot and killed on Hanover St. on the Eastside of downtown Charleston. Through meetings like the Eastside Community Summit, Chief Luther Reynolds says that they are working hard to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again.
“There’s a lot of different things that we can make better…we already have a great community, but how can we make it even better,” Reynolds said.
City of Charleston’s Illumination Project says that they will continue working with the Charleston Police Department to foster conversations with those who live on the Eastside and identify solutions to making it safer and stronger.