SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – The City of Spartanburg has been granted $1,000,000 to help make a crime-ridden neighborhood safer.
The Highland area of Spartanburg has been in the news several times over the past few years for shootings, stabbings, and other violent crimes.
“We’re really concerned about the safety and well-being of those who live there,” Spartanburg Police Chief Alonzo Thompson said.
According to the City, Norris Ridge Apartments has been one of the City’s highest concentrations of substandard housing and crime.
But the Spartanburg Police Chief said it hasn’t always been that way.
“It’s a very proud and historic community, and we want to restore it and even take it to a higher level–especially for the youth that live in that area,” Chief Thompson said.
Police told 7 News other areas in Spartanburg, like Westgate, Hillbrook, and Downtown, actually had more crimes reported in 2020 than the Highland area; but the difference, the Chief said, is the type of crimes.
Thompson said a lot of what they’ve seen in the Highland area, over the years, tends to be more violent than the crimes reported in those other areas of the City.
“There are some assaults and domestic violence,” he said. “When you have serious crimes against persons, that, unfortunately, generally follows gang and drug-related activity.”
That’s why Chief Thompson said a $1,000,000 grant from the Department of Justice is needed. He said it will allow them to help get the Highland area back to its former self.
“Hopefully, reduce the crime and the fear of crime, and improve the quality of life of the residents of that community and the visitors to it,” he said.
But Chief Thompson said the grant won’t just go towards reducing crime.
“The poverty has been concentrated there. The economic disparities and health disparities,” he said. “A lot of those things will be addressed when we come in and spend those million dollars wisely in a myriad of ways.”
Thompson said he’s excited about what this means for those who call the Highland area home.
“Highland will come back,” he said. “The people are deserving of our best, and this million-dollar grant is going to help us make that a reality.”