CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) -Major strides have been made in keeping King Street in Downtown Charleston safe over the past 6 months, and the public got an update on the measures in effect.
New changes went into effect last year after a Count on 2 Investigation as the Charleston Police Department (CPD) say they have improved safety, crime and traffic conditions.
“One of the biggest issues we have is trying to make sure these businesses are healthy, vibrant, and successful,” says Lieutenant James Byrne, Commander for Control Team 9 with CPD.
Since May of 2021, CPD has been enforcing the “Upper King Street Plan” to increase safety and traffic measures in the central business district from Thursday to Saturday nights. Police are highlighting the progress they have seen within the last six months after closing all north bound traffic from Spring to John Street.
“We found that there has been a lot of success. There’s been some learning curve to it as well, but like Mayor Tecklenburg said back in May, this is something we see doing in the foreseeable future,” says Lt. Byrne.
Roy Neal who is the co-owner of El Jefe located in the central business district says he agrees with the changes as they have made the area safer.
“The communication that CPD has with business owners on King Street has been extraordinary. We did not have that as much prior to the problems of May 2019 to 2020,” says Neal.
Lt. Byrne says since the changes, crimes such as aggravated assault have decreased more than 50% and police have seized 40 firearms from upper King Street.
“The motivation behind this from the beginning was safety and it continues to be that. Our focus is that we want people to enjoy the upper King Street.”
Business owners say they are looking forward in more changes as the area grows.
“I can’t speak for every business owner out here, but we like it. It has really controlled a lot of things and it has made it a safe environment,” says Neal.
CPD says they hope to hold informative sessions bi-monthly to start and if there is a higher demand for more meetings, they will host them monthly.