Murders in the Palmetto State – already at a five-year-high – climbed again in 2019, according to the latest crime data released by the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED). Meanwhile, assaults against law enforcement officers skyrocketed last year – another dangerous escalation likely to climb further when the 2020 data is tallied.
According to the 2019 uniform crime report (.pdf), the state’s murder rate climbed by 6.7 percent, its aggravated assault rate climbed by 4 percent and the rate of law enforcement officers assaulted climbed by 20 percent.
This comes on top of a 3.5 percent increase in murders and a 16 percent increase in assaults on law enforcement officers from 2017 to 2018.
“I am extremely concerned by the increased amount of violence in our state including the number of murders, assaults and violent attacks on law enforcement officers,” SLED chief Mark Keel said in a statement announcing the new numbers.
Keel also offered an ominous prediction …
“I’m concerned that these numbers may go even higher due to the many stresses we have faced so far in 2020,” he said.
Violent crime has been out of control this year in the Palmetto State – particularly in the city of Charleston, S.C. There, municipal leaders like über-liberal mayor John Tecklenburg abdicated their obligation to protect life, liberty and property during the violent rioting that broke out following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Memorial Day.
Not surprisingly, this ongoing failure has invited a wave of fresh lawlessness.
Another factor contributing to the rising violent crime rates? The excessive leniency being shown to violent offenders by certain S.C. circuit court judges.
According to the data, there were 441 murders in South Carolina last year – up from 408 in 2018. That is an 8.1 percent increase, but the murder rate per 100,000 inhabitants of the state climbed by 6.7 percent.
Over the last decade, murders in South Carolina have soared by 66.4 percent – with the rate per 100,000 inhabitants climbing by 49.8 percent. This year’s rate of 0.9 murders per 100,000 inhabitants is also the highest recorded since 1994.
Some good news? Instances of sexual battery declined by 6.3 percent in 2019 – and the rate of sexual battery per 100,000 inhabitants dropped by 7.5 percent. Since 1991, the sexual battery rate in South Carolina has declined by 30.4 percent – although it has increased by 11.8 percent over the past decade.
Property crime also continued its downward trend in 2019, with the number of crimes falling from 159,522 to 152,939 – a 4.1 percent reduction. The rate per 100,000 inhabitants dropped by 5.3 percent and is down 25.1 percent over the past decade.
The arson rate also declined by 7.9 percent from 2018 to 2019 – and is down 35.9 percent over the past decade.
“I am pleased to see a steady decline in the rate of property crimes including burglary and arson,” Keel said. “We’re also encouraged to see the rates for robbery and sexual battery drop as well.”
As for aggravated assaults, there were 19,940 such attacks in 2019 – an increase of 5.3 percent from the previous year. The aggravated assault rate (38.7 per 100,000 inhabitants) was up by four percent – however this rate is down 16.5 percent over the past decade.
Looking at aggravated assaults against law enforcement officers, there were 316 such incidents in 2019 – up a staggering 20.6 percent from a year ago (and up 47.6 percent since 2017). Meanwhile there were 594 simple assaults against law enforcement officers – up 19.5 percent from the previous year.
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