The South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) released violent crime statistics for 2016 this week – and hinted that data for 2017 will be available soon.
According to the agency’s 2016 uniform crime report (.pdf), violent crime in the Palmetto State climbed by 1.5 percent two years ago compared to 2015.
That’s the bad news. The good news? Over a quarter-century span from 1991-2016, violent crime in South Carolina has declined by 42.2 percent – at least when measured against the growth in the state’s population. In 2016 there were 7,779 arrests for violence crime – down from 9,690 in 1991. Over that time, the state’s population has soared from 3.5 million to more than five million.
So, progress has been made …
Unfortunately, South Carolina has historically ranked among the most violent states in the nation – with disproportionately high murder, armed robbery and property crime rates. So while we are glad to see plenty of red numbers on this latest report, the Palmetto State remains a place where life, liberty and property are at substantially greater risk than they would be in most other states.
In 2016, the murder rate in the Palmetto State edged down by 5.5 percent from the previous year – and was down by 8.9 percent over a ten-year period. However the rate of sexual battery increased by 1.2 percent in 2016 – and was down by just 1.8 percent over the preceding decade.
Tragically, 52.4 percent of sexual battery victims in South Carolina were under the age of seventeen – and 18.2 percent of victims were under the age of ten. Those are frightening numbers, people.
Property crimes declined by 2.1 percent in 2016 and were down 24.5 percent over the preceding decade, although once again – South Carolina has historically ranked in the top ten nationally for these types of offenses.
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“The rates are based on crimes per 10,000 residents of our growing state,” SLED chief Mark Keel said in a statement accompanying the release of the data. “While decreasing rates for property crimes (are) encouraging, what is troubling are the increasing number of aggravated assaults, robberies and assaults on law enforcement officers.”
According to the report, there were 407 assaults on law enforcement officers in 2016 – up 9.7 percent from the previous year and up a whopping 53.5 percent from 2014.
That is another troubling statistic …
The data compiled in the uniform crime report is based on incident reports submitted by state and local law enforcement agencies to SLED. It is often updated as county and municipal governments supplement their records.
Here is the latest version of the report in its entirety …
In its news release, SLED indicated 2017 crime statistics were “expected to be released in the near future.” We will be sure to provide that information to our readers as soon as the agency publishes it.
Our view on these numbers? They remain completely and totally unacceptable … and yet sadly reflective of South Carolina’s abysmal government-run education system, its shrinking work force and anemic income growth.
A lack of education, poverty and a pervasive lack of opportunity are key drivers of criminal behavior, which is why this news site has consistently pushed for free market reforms aimed at addressing each of those issues – most notably school choice and stimulative tax relief.
Clearly the state’s big government approach to those problems has failed miserably …
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