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The Press and Standard: EDITORIAL: ISO upgrade, crime forum is good news for Walterboro

There was good news last Friday for the citizens of Walterboro for two reasons, as reported on page 1 of last Friday’s Press and Standard.

First was the announcement that the city’s ISO rating has been improved from five to three. That could mean a significant savings for many city residents on their homeowners’ insurance premiums. Theoretically, a lower rating indicates an improvement in a fire department’s ability to respond to and fight fires, hence the reduction in insurance costs.

Congratulations to the city for obtaining this improved rating. Now let us hope that the Insurance Services Office, which ultimately operates on behalf of the insurance industry, does not “move the goal posts” in the future as it appears to be about to do with Colleton County Fire/Rescue. A few years ago, our county’s firefighting agency obtained an improved county-wide ISO rating by, among other things, building enough new fire stations so as to put most of them within five miles of one another — the threshold requirement at the time for getting an improved rating. Now, it appears, the ISO appears about to impose a standard of three miles between stations in order to prevent a downgraded ISO rating.

The other bit of good news for Walterboro residents was the city’s announcement that it will hold a public forum on the issue of crime in Walterboro. As part of the city’s crime study, the forum, conducted by the International City Managers Association’s Center for Public Safety, will be held next Monday, May 13, presumably at Walterboro City Hall at 7 p.m.

We urge every Walterboro resident and businessperson to try to attend and take part in this forum. This is a great opportunity provided by the city for our people to make known their concern about the level of crime here and to make clear their expectations regarding its significant reduction.

An important factor in the city’s crime study is to gauge public opinion on the issue, and this is the citizens’ chance to be heard. After all, the amount of crime in a community is determined more or less by what the citizenry is willing to tolerate. Let’s be sure that attendance at the public forum reflects the degree of concern privately expressed by many of us.

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