Hartsville Police and Ministers board up abandoned homes to make neighborhoods more safe

HARTSVILLE, SC (WBTW) – One City in Darlington is actively working to make neighborhoods more safe while bringing police and the community together.

Members of EMPOWER ,Employing Ministry and Police to Overcome walls and end Racism, will bring police, local ministers and community members together to board up abandoned homes.

Hartsville Police Community Outreach Division Lt. Tenyonde Richardson says they plan to board the abandoned homes for safety concerns from neighbors in the Historic Butler District.

“Who knows what could happen. Someone goes in there and does something and might cause some issues,” said Lt. Richardson.

Next week the group will board up the house on 515 South Sixth Street.

“A lady who owns this house found the door open and someone was sleeping in there,” he explained. “Seeing a dilapidated house or a house that is rundown. We try to go in and board it up and make it more presentable in the neighborhood.”

While making the city more safe, Lt. Richardson says the program is bringing the community together and establishing trust.

“Although we do have individuals across the nation, that do things that they shouldn’t do and that puts a bad light on us. Working with the community is positive and they feel better working with us and working close with us. They see firsthand that we are not bad,” he said.

Last year, the Hartsville Ministerial Alliance contacted the Assistant City Manager Mary Catherine Farrell with the idea to work with police to create better relationships between law enforcement and the people they serve.

“It’s great that we are cleaning up some houses as we go along,” said Farrell. “But it’s those deeper connections that are being made while we’re all out there getting our hands dirty that is really important.”

If you would like to volunteer contact the Hartsville City Hall at 843.383.3015.