Since January, North Charleston police have responded to 221 calls to the address of the Greentree North Apartments, 13 of which were related to weapons.
Stanley Scott has lived in the area for six years and says the sounds of gun fire have become all too common.
“Within the last three days we have had three gun shots and one death in the area,” Scott said. “It’s getting worse and worse every year.”
Scott heard the gun shots that killed Sweat. He would like to see police step up the number of officers in the area as a deterrent to violence.
“It helps when somebody sees a cop car. People are more on alert,” Scott said.
However, Donnimechia Singleton disagrees. He grew up in area and says more police can just make the situation worse.
“It would hurt because their job is going to be to lock up a child. When you lock up a child you lock up a family,” Singleton said. “Locking them up is not going to help. It makes it worse because now they feel like they are missing something, and now it’s payback.”
Instead, Singleton started the North Charleston SC Youth Resistance INC. The organization’s premise is to get young people to resist falling into drugs, crime and violence by providing opportunities to make positive choices.
“Especially our young men. If they see a man, they’ll know how to be man,” Singleton said. “Growing up as a teenager, I made wrong turns. I know what not to do, and I know how to help these teenagers out of those turns.”
He says the root of the problem is socio-economic, which is why he helps kids find jobs.
To Singleton, the area does not need more cops, it needs more resources and opportunities for the youth.
“Anyone I see that’s a drug dealer, you’re really a manager. You just have your hands on the wrong stuff,” Singleton said. “If you can literally manage to sell drugs out here while running from the police, you can establish a business. It just takes time and patience.”
Both Singleton and Scott say the neighborhood can be a good place to live, but the drugs and violence have created an issue that needs to be addressed.