Aiken law enforcement call on community to help reduce crime - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Aiken law enforcement call on community to help reduce crime

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Aiken, S.C. (WFXG) - Little Cookie Joy doesn't have to be afraid going down the slide at this playground in Aiken. Just like her parents don't have to be afraid to take their daughter to a public playground.

"There's a lot of places like this and so we feel very comfortable with the safety in our community," said Matthew Weaver, a resident of Aiken County.

And that's how the Aiken Department of Public Safety wants all of their residents to feel. They're launching the "Safer Communities" program. Through the initiative, offenders meet with law enforcement and members of the community to hear about the effects and penalties of the crimes they are committing; providing them with an opportunity to choose a more productive path.

"They're always trying to, I'll say, bring it down to the community level which is great," said Charles Staffa, a city of Aiken resident.

Law enforcement across Aiken say they can't protect the city by themselves. That's why they're calling on community members to not only give input, but also to help.

"It takes that community voice to speak to the individuals to say ‘Your behavior is not only not acceptable by the police department, but we as a community, don't accept that behavior," said Sgt. Jake Mahoney of the Aiken Department of Public Safety.

Aiken residents heard from a police chief in North Carolina, explain that with the help of the community crime in his area has decreased by 54 percent since the early 90s; inspiring residents in attendance to get involved.

"We are the ones who live in those neighborhoods, and if we want to make them safe, clean, whatever it is, we have to be active participants," said Ann Dicks, a resident in the city of Aiken.

And with more active participants, there will be more safe areas for Cookie Joy to play in.

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