SC law enforcement teams up against gangs

By: Diane Cho Email
By: Diane Cho Email

May 9, 2007

AIKEN, S.C.---Officers all over the Palmetto State are getting training on what to do about two growing problems across the southeast: gangs and drugs.

Police departments from the state capitol along with FBI agents came together to share tactics on how to gather intelligence on gangs.

No matter where the gangs are, officers say the problems are the same. In order to fight the war on gangs on the streets of Aiken, officers need to know the trends across the state.

It's why agencies from all over South Carolina are now working together to watch these gangs...because the gangs certainly don't stop at the city limits

"Columbia, Greenville, we all see the same things, just at a different level," said Sgt. Steve Deibel of Aiken County.

In the last year and a half, Aiken Public Safety has identified at least 12 gangs in the area with more than 700 members---and the writing is on the wall, in the form of graffiti all over town.

Just two months ago a student at Aiken High School told police a fight broke out because another student "disrespected her colors."

"As kids get bullied in schools, they seek protection, and gangs are perfect place for that," Sgt. Deibel said.

And back in February, Aiken Public Safety says a "gang showdown" broke out in a McDonald's parking lot.

But Aiken deputies insist there's no need to be least not yet.

"We here in Aiken have a stable condition, but it can always get worse," Sgt. Deibel said.

While Aiken doesn't have a huge influx of gang activity, Sgt. Deibel says, it's only a matter of time before it will.

"With organization comes an increase in violence, property crimes and violent crimes," he said. "We know its going to happen one day."

Deputies say there are some signs at home that parents can look out for. For example, if your child has been a good student and then all of a sudden changes his or her behavior drastically by becoming problematic both in the classroom and at home and is seen hanging out with a different group of friends, that's a red flag your child may be involved with a gang.

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  • by Jimmy Location: Beech Island on May 15, 2007 at 05:34 AM
    There is a severe lack of law enforcement presence in Beech Island and that's got to change. The drug activity, suspicious behavior, speeding, and loitering has really gotten out of hand. If there were more Aiken County officers dedicated to this area it would make a huge difference in getting these people off the street. It's just a matter of time before something tragic happens that could have been avoided had there been more law enforcement activity to rid the area of the bad apples. I believe our Sheriff is doing a good job for the most part but he needs to put Beech Island up on the priority list.
  • by Amy Location: Aiken on May 11, 2007 at 08:36 AM
    I believe that someone other than Sgt Deibel needs to be trained at the aiken county sheriffs office. Sgt (and i use that term loosly)couldnt catch a cold on a winter day... As far as our Sheriff, Michael Hunt... as much as you claim to be "the lead law enforcement agency".. Promote people who have worked for it, and stop putting people in positions because they are "yes" people!!
  • by Yulanda Location: North Augusta on May 10, 2007 at 03:34 PM
    I am happy that Aiken County is training for these growing promblems. I work in a convient store and i have drug dealers coming in and out of their all day long. And when we work night shift you can see them in the parking lot do there drug deals. I hope they get this problem under control soon.
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