Lancaster County, South Carolina

Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation

Lancaster County, South Carolina

Target Area: The Hill - Population 4,560

BCJI Awardee: Lancaster County, South Carolina

Research Partner: Rutgers University Center on Public Security, Pacific Institute for Research Evaluation

Focus Areas: Violent Crime, Blight, Drug Trafficking, Prostitution

BCJI Funding Year: FY2019

Neighborhood Characteristics

In Lancaster County, South Carolina, "The Hill" is an area marked by concentrated crime and social distress. The Hill covers 6.2 square miles and encompasses five block groups spread over two census tracks. The Hill was once a vibrant community and is still held in high regard by older residents. However, it is now the primary site in the county for drug trafficking and prostitution. The Hill is also the site of a large public housing complex. The area has the highest poverty rate (66 percent) and the lowest graduation rate (74 percent) in the county, in addition to the highest rates for murder, burglary, and sexual assault; it also has the second-highest rates for assault and robbery. In the past five years, the area has seen a staggering 800 percent increase in drug-related cases.

Planning Phase

During the nine-month Planning Phase, a cross-sector team will form to devise strategies to address crime drivers, drawing from a continuum of approaches. The team will develop a 24-month plan detailing the deployment of the selected evidence-based strategies. Other planning activities include: 

  • Identifying hot spots within the larger target area through collecting aggregate crime data;
  • Recruiting, hiring, and training a project coordinator;
  • Finalizing process and outcome evaluation protocols;
  • Convening and engaging community stakeholders;
  • Conducting community engagement forums;
  • Conducting risk terrain modeling;
  • Securing InfoUSA data points for mapping;
  • Recruiting, hiring, and training community enforcement staff;
  • Conducting an environmental assessment training;
  • Prioritizing blighted properties for removal;
  • Doing risk terrain modeling action planning;
  • Conducting training in Cure Violence (Ceasefire); and
  • Completing crime analysis and finalize interventions.

Planning activities will revolve around developing an Action Plan focused on two overarching project goals:

  1. Reducing crime and improving community safety in Lancaster County.
  2. Improving relationships between police agencies and community members.

Other Key Partners

Lancaster County Sheriff's Office, Lancaster Police Department, Lancaster Mayor's Office, Lancaster County Parks and Recreation, Lancaster County School District, Lancaster Building and Zoning, Lancaster County Health Department, Office of Lancaster County Administration, Lancaster County Department of Social Services, City Council, County Council, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Faith Community, Neighborhood Crime Watch, Coalition for Healthy Youth, Rape Crisis Centers

This project is supported by Cooperative Agreement No. 2018-BJ-BX-K035 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions contained herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. References to specific agencies, companies, products, or services should not be considered an endorsement by the author(s) or the U.S. Department of Justice. Rather, the references are illustrations to supplement discussion of the issues. 

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