NAN calls for crime task force, more resources in Charleston Co.

VIDEO: Group calls for crime task force, more resources in Charleston Co.

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - As crime continues to spike across Charleston County this year, local organizations are calling on county and city officials to make changes.

The Charleston County National Action Network chapter asked the County and City of North Charleston to create more resources for families.

At a news conference Thursday, Elder James Johnson, President of NAN, said African American women are hurting in North Charleston, because of a lack of programs to help keep their kids on the right path.

2010 Census numbers show 62 percent of these women are single and raising children under the age of 18.

"The City of North Charleston and Charleston County are not putting these resources in the community," Johnson said. "So we are turning to the churches. We are asking the churches to put programs in the community to help raise their kids."

The group is also asking sports coaches and community businesses and programs to help.

"Another generation behind this one that we're going to lose if we don't start fixing the generation problems right now," said Charles Tyler, President of the Charleston County NAN chapter.

The group is working on a ten-point program to help combat the crime issues.

Leaders are asking for people in the community to come to a meeting April 8 at 10:30 a.m. at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, located at 7396 Rivers Ave. in North Charleston, to brainstorm ideas.

Spencer Pryor, a spokesman for the North Charleston Police Department, said the City and police department have several resources in place to help the youth.

Those programs include "Cool to Be In School", "Operation Safe Summer", "Kids & Cops" and "Cops Athletic Program".

The programs seek to create relationships between law enforcement officers and youth at an early age to prevent them from making poor life choices.

NAN also called on the City to create a task force to address the crime in the community.

Since the beginning of the year there have been ten murders within the city limits, the most recent March 30 on Taylor Street off Rivers Avenue.

"This is not only a one community problem, this is everybody's problem we have going on all throughout this country," Tyler said. "It doesn't flow in just the black community, it's also flowing into the white community. So we're all going to have to come together."

Johnson believes the major issue is the number of illegal guns in the hands of people who aren't supposed to have them.

He said it's a danger not only to the community, but also law enforcement officers, referencing the March 18 deadly shooting of a Greenville, SC police officer.

"The officers here are in danger also," Johnson said. "So we need to do something in finding out where those guns are coming from. I believe if we can stop the flow of guns going into the black community, we can decrease the crime."

Comment from Pryor regarding the possibility of a City crime task force was not immediately returned.

"We want them to do their job and put together a task force to find these guns, these illegal guns coming into the community," Johnson said. "I say time and time again, when you get a 13-year-old who has a weapon, he thinks he has power and he will use that."

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