The Richland County Sheriff's Department narcotics and gang units conducted an operation in Five Points last weekend to find out more about gang activity there.
Sheriff Leon Lott says it appears members of one particular gang – which he wouldn't name – are using the popular entertainment and dining district as their hang out after midnight.
And the sheriff says a Harden Street nightclub, The Library, caters to those gang members.
Sheriff's Sergeant Chris Cowan predicts law enforcement will be focusing on that trouble spot.
“The Library has specific knowledge,” Cowan says. “They're allowing this to continue and they either need to close or they need to change their operation – their behavior – because they're affecting the citizens of the area.”
The owner of The Library says his place is safe and he is being targeted because he is the only bar in the area that caters to African-Americans.
Speaking on WVOC's “Jonathon & Kelly Show,” Cowan said the Columbia Police Department was not informed of the sheriff's department anti-gang sweep on Saturday night, which involved undercover deputies and traffic checkpoints.
But Cowan said the two law enforcement agencies plan to use such information to work together in the future to cut down on crime in Five Points.
And he says they're also coordinating efforts with the state Department of Corrections, which is reminding gang members and others of the curfew in the area.
“Approximately 98 youthful offenders were sent a specific letter putting them on notice that if they were in and around Five Points after 9 p.m., that it would be a violation and they would be immediately arrested on the spot.”