The City of Aiken today is taking aggressive steps designed to curb violent crime at an area apartment complex that has become known for a wide array of unlawful activity.
In a letter to the ownership of Paces Run Apartments, Aiken City Manager John Klimm details the extensive criminal history of the property and demands the complex develop a plan to address the problems there within 30 days or face losing its business license.
Over the last 24 months there have been a total of ten shootings at Pace’s Run Apartments, four reports of property struck by gunfire, four aggravated assaults, and two murders. Statistics show Paces Run, where two of the three (67%) murders in the City took place during the period, is an island of chaos in an otherwise safe community.
“In order for you to avoid having your business license suspended and/or revoked you must supply me with a proposed plan of action to address the reduction of criminal activity at Paces Run within 30 days of receipt of this letter,” Klimm writes. “If I do not receive your plan by Nov. 10, 2017, I will assume that you do not plan to propose a plan of action and I will meet with the business license official to discuss whether your business license should be suspended and/or revoked.”
Mayor Rick N. Osbon announced earlier this year that Aiken Public Safety would implement a system called AikenStat that collates real-time crime data to guide law enforcement efforts. The goal is for police to use the information gathered to become more proactive about targeting problem areas. Paces Run is an example of that shift in focus to eliminating the root causes of violent crime before it occurs.
“This is a perfect example of what City Manager John Klimm and Chief Charles Barranco have been working toward,” Osbon said. “There are a lot of good people and families living in Paces Run and they need and deserve a safe neighborhood free from fear. Now we have the hard numbers readily available to prove our case as we hold the owners of this property accountable for what is happening there.”
Aiken City Council Member Gail Diggs, who represents District 1 and the residents of Paces Run, applauded the City’s action and called for a speedy and effective response from the owners of the apartment community.
“It is high time we held these people to account for what has been happening there,” Diggs said. “These are families who need a crime-free place to live and the owners of that business can’t just look at what profits they can make. They need to make sure they’re being responsible and taking these issues seriously … that is just the cost of doing business and ensuring safety and security.”
Aiken Public Safety, through its Safe Communities program and the Aiken Street team, has been working closely with residents in the community and will continue to do so as efforts to reduce crime there expand. Through these programs, community volunteers and law enforcement officers go into the neighborhood in hopes of building stronger ties and a united front against crime.
“I know there are some wonderful people who live there. I know they want a safe community just like everyone else. We want them to know that what we are here to help ensure they have that.” said Cynthia Mitchell, Community Services Coordinator at Aiken Public Safety. “What we want to do is to begin to set the norm for relationship and interaction while they are young. We want them to understand that the community and law enforcement can and should work together. It’s not us against them. It is we; we are in this community together.”
For footage of City Manager Klimm’s remarks regarding the letter, click here