Orangeburg, South Carolina

Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation

Orangeburg, South Carolina

Target Area: Roosevelt Gardens, Goff Road, and Edisto Drive - Population 12,954

BCJI Awardee: Serve & Connect

Research Partner: Wandersman Center

Focus Areas: Homicide, Drug Sales, Burglaries, Gun Crime

BCJI Funding Year: FY2019

Neighborhood Characteristics

The primary areas of service for this Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation (BCJI) project are Roosevelt Gardens, Goff Road, and Edisto Drive All are within the 29115 zip code. These areas have historically represented the highest rates of criminal activity in Orangeburg County. The 29115 zip code of Orangeburg, SC, is an area that has been marginalized for generations and has experienced tension with law enforcement dating back to the Civil Rights Area, and these tensions remain present. This rural community continues to rank among the highest in South Carolina for crime, health, and socioeconomic disparities. Of the 46 South Carolina counties ranked in child well-being indicators, Orangeburg County is 40th. Nearly all key determinants of risks to child well-being exceed, and at times double, that of the state average.

In a county of 1,128 square miles, Roosevelt Gardens represents just over 10 acres in size. Yet in the last five years, the Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office (OCSO) has answered a call for service in the neighborhood once every four days. Recent data indicate that crime rates are on the rise

Another hot spot area, Edisto Drive, is a 1.8 mile stretch of a four-lane road. For locals, the area is associated with criminal activity. The side streets have been a prostitution row and the street corners are known for drug activity Through the years, this area has suffered multiple murders Assaults, burglaries, shots fired, vandalism, and drug activity are all crimes that plague this community despite crime reduction efforts.

Goff Road, an area referred to as "The Hill," has experienced drug activity for decades. Young people known it is a drug supermarket, while older residents recognize the danger. Once a thriving community of professionals and artisans, the Stilton Road/Goff Avenue area became a place where the remaining senior residents no longer feel safe. The area is also marked by peripheral crimes that go along with drugs, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and shootings. At one point, a serial arsonist burned down more than 30 abandoned residences. Some residents believed the arsonist was cleaning up the neighborhood on their own by burning down the houses used for drug activity.

Planning Phase

During the Planning Phase, the site will develop a plan based on Serve & Connect's (S&C) COMPASS model Guided by best practices, the four-phase COMPASS model facilitates positive community change through effective collaboration between police, residents, and community organizations. S&C will serve as the primary facilitator of COMPASS in Orangeburg and will coordinate all aspects of this project. This includes mobilization of partners, engagement of residents, community data collection, facilitating proposed activities, developing implementation plans for community initiatives and events, and overseeing grant management. S&C will work directly with their research partner, the Wandersman Center (WC), on data management, data analysis, capacity building, and Action Plan development.

S&C will work directly with key project partners to collect quantitative and qualitative data regarding project objectives and outcomes. Specifically, crime data will be provided by the Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office (OCSO) via their records management system Additional data include indicators related to economic revitalization, provided by the Orangeburg County Development Commission, and indicators regarding adverse childhood experiences, supplied by Children's Trust. S&C will work with other partners, such as the Department of Juvenile Justice, State Law Enforcement Division, U.S Attorney's Office, and Department of Probation, Pardon, and Parole for additional data. These relationships are already established in South Carolina and will be further facilitated through their partnership with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Association. Qualitative data from community meetings, community engagement and outreach, and other sources will be integrated into the data collection process as well The WC will oversee all data integration.

During the Planning Phase, BCJI practitioners will develop an Action Plan around the following project objectives:

  1. At least 75 percent of community survey respondents will report improved trust between criminal justice organizations and community partners.
  2. At least 75 percent of community survey respondents will report enhanced capacity for criminal justice, service providers, and community residents to effectively collaborate to reduce crime and promote safety.
  3. At least 75 percent of community survey respondents will report enhanced accessibility to community resources associated with drivers of crime.
  4. Violent crime in hot spot areas will reduce by 50 percent.
  5. At least 75 percent of community survey respondents will report reduced fear of crime.

Other Key Partners

Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office, Orangeburg County Development Commission, Children's Trust, Department of Juvenile Justice, State Law Enforcement Division, South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Association, U.S. Attorney's Office, Department of Probation, Pardon, and Parole

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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