The Daily Gamecock

Columbia mom aims to make Five Points safer after son was beaten in Five Points

<p>The walkway facing the bar Breakers from the corner of Harden and Greene Street at 9:52 p.m. on Jan. 29, 2021.&nbsp;</p>
The walkway facing the bar Breakers from the corner of Harden and Greene Street at 9:52 p.m. on Jan. 29, 2021. 

After her son was severely beaten in Five Points on St. Patrick's Day, Allen Adkins is on a mission to make the district safer.

According to Adkins, her 24-year old son Logan Adkins left Saloon at approximately 2 a.m. At 2:20 a.m., his Find My Friends app location pinpointed him at Prisma Health Richland Park 5, where the emergency room is located.

Logan's friend, Blake McGuirt, fourth-year political science student, was with him downtown before the assault happened.

"It's not like he was way too intoxicated. I'd seen him drinking plenty of times, and he's always just fine, the way he is when he's getting picked up and whatnot, so I figured there's nothing to worry about when I walked off," McGuirt said.

McGuirt said despite a large amount of foot traffic that night, no one has given any answers.

"I know a lot of people that work at Saloon," McGuirt said. "nobody could really tell me anything. So, I'm not really sure who will be able to fill that gap in for us."

Adkins said she was frustrated by the lack of cameras in Five Points and the video's quality, in which she couldn't see her son in the alleyway beside Saloon.

"It's really frustrating to know, obviously, what my son looks like and what he was wearing, and the video is so poor quality that I can't even pick out my own child," Adkins said.

Fueled by her irritation, Adkins set out to make active change in Five Points. Adkins said she "kind of turned into a crazy mom" and sat in her car in front of the alleyway from daylight until dark.

"I just watched the transformation to see how light it was versus how dark it was, and my friend Seth Rose, who is a legislator ... met me down there," Adkins said.

Adkins said she met one of her friends, who is a bar owner, to scope the alleyway out. While they were there, they noticed there were empty hooks where lights were supposed to be.

Seth Rose, representative of District 72 in Richland Country, said he'd discussed the possibility of having better light bulbs put in for existing lights and adding other lighting.

Adkins said she reached out to an engineering sales friend with the idea of a lightbulb that gets brighter based on a timer.

"I want downtown to glow," Adkins said. "He said, 'Allen, there absolutely is [a bulb like that].' He said, 'It's a relatively new product.' And I said, 'OK, that's what my goal is.' If they want to add more cameras, that's great, that's — not going to turn that down, but I feel like if it were brighter, the cameras would've worked better. It doesn't invite crime," Adkins said.

Rose said in Five Points, there's a 95% chance you're on camera.

"Logan's situation highlighted that there's a couple blind spots. Those blind spots are being closed to where technology for cameras are being installed, where they can be viewed remotely," Rose said.

Melron Kelly, Richland County deputy police chief, said Logan's case is still active, and it hasn't narrowed any suspects down.

"We're still pleading with the public. We feel like there are people out here, out in the public, that know exactly what happened to provide us more witness testimony. We implore people to come down and give us information," Kelly said.

Adkins said she has no interest in shutting bars down and taking their licenses.

"I want something positive to come of this," Adkins said. "I loved Five Points when I was in college. It's a great place to meet people and have good times and make good memories, which is what I did."

In addition to representative Rose, Adkins has been in touch with many City Council members, the mayor and the city manager, she said.

"Fortunately, first and foremost, Logan is getting better. It's going to be a long road, but I have to make a difference," Adkins said. "I cannot live with myself if I don't make a difference."