Dorchester-Waylyn residents concerned about number of youth crimes

Published: Oct. 27, 2016 at 10:15 PM EDT
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NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Dorchester-Waylyn residents are searching for ways to cut down on youth crime following a recent deadly shooting in the neighborhood.

The Charleston County Coroner said Amarai Smalls, 17, was shot and killed; his body was found behind a home on Ranger Drive Wednesday night, according to North Charleston Police.

Authorities arrested two teenager connected to Smalls' murder.

A 15-year-old was arrested for the shooting. The suspect is in custody at the Juvenile Detention Center in North Charleston. Demonte Wallace, 17, of North Charleston, was also arrested and charged with accessory before the fact of murder.

Thursday residents said crime among youth is become more common these days.

"I'm scared for my own children and for other people's children," said Michelle LaSasso, of North Charleston. "It's a very scary situation, because you don't know if your kids are walking out and if they could be one of them."

The three deadly shootings on Ranger Drive this year are causing some concern for people who live in the Dorchester-Waylyn neighborhood.

All of the victims are either in their teens or early 20s. The suspect are also around that age.

"That's the truth," said Alice Woodbury, a long-time Dorchester-Waylyn resident. "There's a lot of young people in jail, and a lot of young people getting killed behind the crimes in this area."

"Neighborhoods aren't family oriented like they used to be a long time ago," said the neighborhood association president Tanang Williams.

North Charleston Councilwoman Dorothy Williams said crime has subsided in the neighborhood, however the amount of violence that still exists is upsetting.

"There's no way to stop people from killing someone," she said over the phone Thursday. "The only way to try and stop it is for people to come forward with information."

As President of the neighborhood association, Tanang Williams receives reports from the North Charleston Police Department on a monthly basis regarding the calls they respond to in the neighborhood.

"Further down into Waylyn there's a lot of crime down there," Woodbury said. "The police are down there almost every night."

According to a report Williams has, North Charleston officers responded to 104 incidents from January until September.

The table lists the following responses from January-September 2016:

  • style="margin-left: 40px;">Homicides: 2
  • style="margin-left: 40px;">Aggravated Assault: 9
  • style="margin-left: 40px;">Rape: 2
  • style="margin-left: 40px;">Robbery: 3
  • style="margin-left: 40px;">Burglary: 31
  • style="margin-left: 40px;">Stolen Vehicles: 10
  • style="margin-left: 40px;">Vandalism Gunshots: 2
  • style="margin-left: 40px;">Weapons Offense: 4
  • style="margin-left: 40px;">Breaking and Entering Vehicles: 24

Councilwoman Williams said there are cameras installed throughout the neighborhood and police patrol the around "24/7".

She said change is going to have to come from the people who live in the neighborhood.

While residents admit crime does happen, they said there are still a lot of good people who live there as well.

"A lot of hard working people that do have jobs," Williams said.

She adds talking to and learning about your neighbors may also be a way to crack down on crime.

"Then you know how to appreciate other cultures and how other people live," she said. "Sometimes people are scared of what they don't know."

The Dorchester-Waylyn Neighborhood Association meets the third Tuesday of every month to discuss initiatives and other issues going on in the area.

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