Operation Clean Sweep Update - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/12/04

Operation Clean Sweep Update

Chronic crime problems cited around Highway 17. Chronic crime problems cited around Highway 17.

The crime crackdown along the Ogeechee corridor has been in place for two years now. Since police started Operation Clean Sweep, businesses have been shut down and numerous arrests have been made; illegal activities are nothing new to residents and businesses in the area.

Peggy Lynn's on Ogeechee Road is known for its country cooking, and that means early hours to be ready for the rush. "It's kind of scary in the morning cause you see a lot of people walking up and down the street," said owner Peggy Bacot.

This restaurant does not serve up any problems that sometimes surround this area. "We don't like that stuff around here so, we eliminate it," Bacot said.

Police have been trying to do just that for the past two years when Operation Clean Sweep started. "We were kind of concerned about the area out here," said Commander Commander Edward Williams. "There was a lot of crime going on, specifically a lot of drug crime."

In October of 2002, the problems got a lot of attention after a murder outside the Liberty Inn. Residents asked police and commissioners for help, and the operation has never stopped. "I hate to use the term drug war, but that's the only term we have at this point," said Williams. "It seems like it's a war, back and forth back and forth."

And law enforcement agencies continues to get new information to fight this war every day. "As a result of that, I know for a fact we made 64 arrests last year and just alone this year, we made 29 arrests," reported Williams.

And those are just the drug-related arrests. Bacot says they can notice a difference. "When we first opened up, we caught people in the back of the restaurant, but here lately it's been kind of quiet."

Business owners do say they would like to see more police patrols.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro, kangelastro@wtoc.com

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