Murders in South Carolina reached a five-year high last year according to crime data released on Friday by the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED). Meanwhile, assaults against law enforcement officers continued to spike.
The good news? The overall crime rate in the Palmetto State declined last year – as did the rate of property crime (which fell for the fifth consecutive year).
“I am pleased to see a steady decline in the number of property crimes and that the overall violent crime rate dropped,” SLED chief Mark Keel said in a statement announcing the findings of the report. “While these statistics are encouraging, I am deeply troubled by the increasing number of murders, domestic violence incidents and the number of law enforcement officers assaulted in our state.”
According to the data, there were 393 murders in South Carolina in 2018 – an increase of 3.5 percent from the previous year and, as mentioned, the highest total in five years. As for the widely cited murder rate, there were a total of 0.8 murders per 10,000 South Carolina citizens in 2018 – up modestly from 0.7 a year ago.
Assaults against law enforcement officers climbed by 16 percent – continuing their upward trajectory.
The rate of assaults by intimate partners increased by nearly 4 percent in 2018 – with the total number of victims reaching a five-year high of 27,887. Sexual battery also continued to climb – reaching a new five-year high of 2,634 victims. The rate of sexual assaults per 10,000 South Carolinians held at 5.2 for the third consecutive year.
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As mentioned above, there was good news … including a 2 percent decline in the violent crime rate and a 4 percent drop in property crimes. Also for the seventh consecutive year, burglary declined – and has now dropped by a whopping 43 percent from 2011 levels.
Also, larceny and theft declined by 5 percent from the previous year, while arson crimes declined by 6 percent.
And yes … when we are reporting on crime statistics, the red numbers are good and the green numbers are bad.
Breaking the numbers down by county, Dillon, Greenwood, Darlington, Barnwell and Richland were the five South Carolina counties with the highest violent crime rates, while Oconee, Saluda, Berkeley and Bamberg were the four counties boasting the lowest violent crime rates – at least among counties that provided complete reporting to SLED.
Abbeville (+69 percent), Calhoun (+51 percent), Newberry (+33 percent) and Williamsburg (+31 percent) were the fully-reporting counties that showed the highest increases in violent crimes in 2018, while Chesterfield (-27 percent), Fairfield (-25 percent), Georgetown (-21 percent), Laurens (-19 percent) and Berkeley (-15 percent) showed the biggest declines.
Here is the release from SLED …
As noted, SLED obtained the data for its 2018 uniform crime report from local sheriffs, police chiefs and their officers and staff.
“Our sincere thanks to the sheriffs, chiefs of police, their officers and staff who protect our communities,” Keel said in the release.
The full crime report (.pdf) is available on SLED’s website …
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