NEWS

Police chiefs promote Chamber’s business “Crime Watch” at Coffee with the Chiefs

The Cayce and the West Columbia Police Departments want to reduce crime.

On Monday, the Greater Cayce-West Columbia Chamber hosted “Coffee with the Chiefs” to promote a Business Crime Watch Program. The event featured Cayce Police Chief Chris Cowan and West Columbia Police Chief Marion Boyce at Stone River in West Columbia.

Boyce, Cowan, James

“Our goal is to build communication and relationships,” said Cowan to several business owners. “We need you all to be those extra eyes and ears.”

Cowan encouraged the business community to support each other and report suspicious activity. There are other ways to increase awareness about crime, too.

Boyce said people will share information about criminal activity on social media. “We want to harness that information,” he said. He also encouraged people to be sure to call 911 and don’t let Facebook replace dispatchers. 

Tim James, Chamber president called the program a neighborhood crime watch, but for small businesses. There are only three programs like it in the United States. Contact the Chamber for more information at: info@chamber.com or 803794-6504. “Businesses can team up with the Chamber for this innovative program,” said James.

As a part of the effort, businesses will be provided with proactive and preventative strategies, with opportunities to share crime prevention tips and criminal activity trends in the business community.

Aubrey Fitzloff of LifeTime Insurance Co., was at the meeting, Monday. She said she was 600 miles away from Cayce, in Pennsylvania, when she got a call on the day after Christmas, that the door to her insurance office was open.

“The wind had blown it open,” she said. An astute neighbor called the police and reported the open door and police secured it.

In describing other ways people help police, Cowan said in February a woman saw smoke rising from Trinity Baptist Church at 1 a.m. in the morning. She called 911. Reporting the fire just after it was started kept the church from burning to the ground. 

Kathy Foster of Nordan and Foster Custom Upholstery on Meeting Street in West Columbia said her business teamed with Dominion Energy to install flood lights. Cowan said adding lighting is one the most-effective ways to reduce the chances for crime on a property.