CHP HOA Meeting Minutes – 08/31/2020
Due to the recent COVID-19, all attendees practiced social distancing and the use of masks. Due to overflow, clubhouse sliding doors were opened to accommodate spacing for social distancing.
Meeting start: 6:30 pm
Board Members in Attendance: Jeremy Catoe, David Bergeron, and Jan Talkish
Board Members Absent: J.J. Gentry (called in via cell)
Attendees: 26 residents and David Peterson of CAMS Residential Services
Neighborhood Crime: Guest speaker – Captain Kellie Yates, West Division of the Columbia Police Department (690 Club Rd. next to the fire department).
Captain Yates began her presentation tonight by discussing personnel at the West Division station. She wanted residents in attendance tonight to know that – in a perfect world – she would have 7 to 8 officers per shift, but they are dealing with manpower challenges due to lost personnel. Currently, Captain Yates has four officers per 12 hour shift patrolling the West division, which includes Chestnut Hill Plantation, the Harbison HOA, a handful of other apartment complexes and HOAs, and the Harbison retail area including the Columbiana Mall. Because of these manpower issues, the police department does need to prioritize calls that are coming in, with more serious crimes receiving priority over property crimes. However, the COCPD is still here and is still available….their response may just take a bit longer.
Captain Yates is pleased to announce that overall, crime is down in the western region of Columbia. Here is the crime data and percentages for the West Region compared to last year for the date of August 16. (Provided by Captain Yates)
Homicides; 0……………………………… -0%
Rapes; 2…………………………………… -0%
Robberies; 7 (-5)…………………………. -42%
Aggravated Assaults; 14 (-9)…………….. -39%
Burglaries: 27 (+12)……………………… +80%
Auto break-ins: 106 (-15)………………… -12%
Larceny: 430 (-107)………………………. -25%
Theft; 37 (-9)……………………………… -20%
Violent Crime: -38%
Property Crime: -19%
Total Crime: -20%
As seen above, violent crimes have decreased, as well as auto break-ins and grant theft auto.
There has been increase in homeless and transient persons in the area of late, mostly because bus transportation within the city is currently free (due to Covid). Captain Yates also reports that they are seeing more individuals with mental health challenges. The Columbia Police Department has reached out to local agencies to assist with those who are homeless and transient in an attempt to get them off the streets and into shelters or mental health programs. She recognizes that people want to assist those who are down on their luck; however, she asks that members of the public not give money to those who are begging as it only perpetuates the problem. She also asks members of the general public to reach out to the Columbia Police Department if assistance is needed with transient individuals or those who are experiencing mental health issues.
In regards to issues within CHP:
There have been numerous complaints about speeding in the neighborhood – Captain Yates says that traffic enforcement officers will be patrolling the area, and trying to pinpoint specific times when speeding seems to be an issue. If residents have input as to the times of day that see the most offences, please call the traffic division at 803-545-3975.
There have been multiple parking issues reported as well, and while officers have been addressing those complaints, they have been backing off a bit as far as issuing fines. During this time of financial insecurity for some (due to Covid), the Columbia Police Department does not feel that burdening residents with a $100+ fee is a priority.
There have been some fireworks complaints of late. Captain Yates has been speaking to the fire marshal not only about the excessive use of fireworks after established end-of-use hours (10pm) but also about the problems fireworks represent given the closeness of many homes in HOA communities. There will be more information to come after these discussions are completed.
There have been a number of complaints regarding attempted auto break-ins within CHP. Captain Yates reports that physically ‘breaking’ into cars has not been an issue, however individuals have been seen on home surveillance video attempting to open various car doors in order to steal items from within the vehicles. She asks that if your car has been tampered with, or even if an individual is seen just trying to open the car doors, that you contact the police department and send in video or photos if you have them. If your car has been disturbed in any way- even if you’re only missing items of small value or items have merely been moved around – it is important to call and make a police report. Captain Yates says that she does monitor various Facebook pages and while she hears of people discussing attempted break-ins to their cars, very few people actually call and make a report. Without continued assistance from the public, the sharing of videos/photos, and filed complaints, the police department will be unable to catch the individuals who are violating your property. All information and videos are extremely helpful in court. Captain Yates and Investigator Hook of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department are working together to catch the individuals involved in these crimes and take them into custody. There is a specific gentleman that both the Columbia Police Department and Richland County Sheriff’s Department are looking into, however he has so far evaded capture. Please keep sending in those leads!
In the meantime, please be proactive and protect your property. Do not leave valuables or items that can be pawned in your cars. Do not leave spare keys to other cars or your home within your vehicle. Make sure that all car doors are locked, especially overnight (when the majority of these crimes are being reported). As stated, these perpetrators are not physically ‘breaking’ into vehicles – they are looking for those that are unlocked for an easy score. Remember – if your vehicle looks disturbed, or even if only objects of small monetary value are missing, please call the police, as officers may be able to pull prints off your vehicle. Also – as previously mentioned – currently there are four officers per 12 hour shift, and manpower cannot be increased in our division unless there is an increase in police demand. If you see something, say something.
National Night Out-
National Night Out is an annual event that ‘enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community.’ (www. https://natw.org). Normally held the first Tuesday of August, it was canceled this year due to Covid. It is hoped that it may be rescheduled to October 6. Additional information to come.
Neighborhood Crime Watch –
Also, Captain Yates mentioned that Sgt. Darrell Hicks, may be available for our next HOA meeting to discuss a neighborhood crime watch program.
Captain Yates would like to thank members of the community. The support, assistance, and information given to the police department by the public are very much appreciated. She states that the West Division tries very hard to provide the best service to residents and businesses. She also stresses that, if anybody is unprofessional within her division, she wants to know about it. She asks that the public trust in the police department and what they represent, and not be afraid to call if the need arises.
Captain Yates also says that, snacks, food, and other gifts from the public have greatly boosted the morale of her officers and staff in these trying times for the department (being short-staffed and dealing with Covid concerns), and she thanks those individuals who have contributed.
Captain Yates may be reached at: Kellie.Yates@columbiasc.gov
“If nothing was taken from my car, should I still call?”
— Yes. The police department is paid to assist and serve, so please call us so that we can record your incident. The statistics count in court.
“Should I call if I see people around my cars at 4 AM? Would it be better to just wait until morning and send you a copy of my home surveillance video? Will you run with sirens? I don’t want to disturb my neighbors that early in the morning. I also worry about police confronting someone and getting hurt.”
— – Officers want to arrive quickly as able to help when a crime is taking place, so please don’t hesitate to call if you see a crime taking place – regardless of the time of day or night. The police department has different responses for different calls, which may or may not include the use of sirens. Calls can be made anonymously so your neighbors do not have to know who has called. Police officers are trained to anticipate any type of situation, so please let us worry about situations that may or may not arise.
“Should we worry about an increase of crimes due to the lack of financial gain thieves are receiving from attempted car break-ins? Do we have to worry about perpetrators breaking into homes when car break-ins are not fruitful?”
— – David Bergeron, of the HOA Board states that every call the police receive for an attempted break-in will help catch perpetrators before crimes escalate. Captain Yates again reiterated calls can be made anonymously, and that residents don’t have put themselves in danger. Do not hesitate to call the police if you need them.
“With the current Covid situation, do we need to be aware of the number of guests at our home?”
— Yes. The police are not going to bother small groups of well-behaved individuals; they’re more concerned with very large numbers of individuals in one place.
“The city installed a camera near the clubhouse – are any others due to be installed in the neighborhood, at Hollingshed or Paso Fino Drive?”
— There were issues with the utility set up at Hollingshed and Lost Creek Drive which is why cameras are not there at this time. There been no request made for a camera on Paso Fino, but Captain Yates will pass that request on to the City of Columbia.
“Does the person of interest in all these attempted car break-ins live in CHP?”
— The department had a person of interest, but he is not the suspect seen on Ring cameras – they are still working on identifying that individual.
“Does the Columbia Police Department have access to the Ring app?”
— Yes, if you have footage from your Ring video please also pass that along to the police. The police appreciate any help possible. Reminder: you cannot just call about people who were walking on the streets (the streets are public) – they must be trespassing on your property or HOA property and/or involved in/attempting an illegal activity. Please don’t hesitate to call 911.
Pool: J.J. Gentry reports that we are winding down to the end of the pool season. This Summer we employed two pool attendants, however we have paired that down to one as we head into Fall. Prior Covid-19 rule changes have been modified to now allow two guests per household as well as one toy or small float per household. The last day that we will have a pool attendant will be next Monday, September 7, which is Labor Day…after that, everyone attending the pool will be responsible for their and their guest’s behavior and cleaning up after themselves. The pool will remain open until the end of September if residents uphold these rules –if not, the pool will be closed immediately. Residents did a great job last year with following rules to keep the pool open, and we hope this year will be the same.
Clubhouse: Due to Covid-19, there have not been a lot of clubhouse rentals in recent months. Currently, there are seven rentals in place for the month of September. Dates are still available, however with state/city mandated Covid-19 rules, gatherings may have no more than 20 people.
Communications Committee: The Comm Comm is currently working on polishing up the updated website, and making it more functional for the ease of residents.
Landscaping: O’Neil Gilliam – who has recently stepped down as HOA Board President and member of the Board of Directors – is still the Landscaping Chair here at CHP, and will attend HOA meetings when his schedule allows.
Recently it was discovered that we had 16 failed sprinkler heads along with a leak along the main lawns (due to a pipe failure) which will be repaired soon.
The pump that regulates the ponds around the clubhouse has been fixed, and all ponds are now back to normal water level.
Trails: Ward Squires reports that there has not been much trail work over the summer due to heat and insects. There is one tree down on one of the trails, but hikers are able to easily duck under it and continue on their way. A resident reports that a small ‘bridge’ has washed away in one area, but Ward says that there are stepping stones in place to cross that swampy area – hikers can also use an unmarked bypass trail that will go around that area. There is one very large tree down on one trail however it’s a bigger job than Ward, Jeremy, and their equipment can handle, so landscaping crews will need to be called in.
CAMS: David Peterson of CAMS says all is going well with the agency and that he has nothing new to report.
Well Gate: A resident reports that the gate that leads to the well/pump house is open, and wonders if it should always remain closed. Jeremy states that the gate and road are owned by Richland County, and that he will let them know it is open.
A resident in attendance asked how yard maintenance is enforced? This resident’s neighbor has overgrown lawns and overgrown bushes that are now becoming entangled with poison ivy. This resident also states that the neighbor’s backyard is a mess.
— After hearing the particulars of the complaint, Board members assured the resident that they have received a written complaint about the property in question, and have discussed the issue. David Peterson of CAMS says that he has sent a letter to the owner of said property. Board members and David Peterson informed the resident that they (Board and/or CAMS) cannot enter properties to check back yards, however if the resident has pictures of the neighbors backyard and can forward them to the Board, it will help with their investigation. The resident was advised to follow up with the Board and CAMS if the neighbor makes no attempt to clean up his yard.
As there have been unmarked cars slowing down and taking pictures of houses in the neighborhood, a resident wants to know if CAMS vehicles have any kind of identifying markers/signs on them?
— David Peterson reports that they have lost the set of magnet signs that CAMS reps use for their vehicles, and that they need to purchase new ones. However, the specific vehicle mentioned is not owned by CAMS or any member of the board.
Will there be trick-or-treating in the neighborhood this year?
— The HOA has no control over trick-or-treating at this time…it will depend upon the weather and Covid restrictions that may be in effect. Halloween and trick-or-treating is always held on October 31st here in CHP.
When are the HOA meetings usually held?
— Meetings are always held the last Monday of every month at 6:30 PM in the clubhouse. The only exception is holiday weekends at the end of the month (for which a new date is announced), and the month of December, when the official budget meeting takes precedence.
Have front porch roll calls stopped?
— Yes, due to Covid.
The Board once again reminds residents to keep their homes and vehicles locked, keep lights on after dark, and not let their guard down. If you see something, say something! Individuals trying to steal from vehicles and garages are not afraid of cameras or outdoor lights, BUT good lighting makes for better videos, which can assist with catching these perpetrators.
Meeting End: 7:40pm
Minutes reviewed and authorized by: David Bergeron, HOA Board Member
Renée Cabaup / Comm. Comm.