COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - New reports show that murder is on the rise in South Carolina. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division released new statistics this week on violent crimes, including murder, sexual battery, robbery, and aggravated assault.
The rates for overall violent crime and property crime dropped but the number of murders spiked, hitting a five year high in South Carolina.
These numbers come from sheriff and police departments across the state. While South Carolina is seeing a drop in overall violent crime, murder, which is under that umbrella, in South Carolina has spiked.
Across the state, the number of murders increased from 375 in 2017 to 393 in 2018. One notable spike is the number of juveniles arrested in 2018 for murder. Rising from 8 in 2017 to 12 in 2018.
Looking at murder county by county, six counties had over twenty murders during 2018.
Richland County and Charleston County had the highest number of murders with over 40 each. Columbia Police say they are working to combat rising gun violence announcing in September plans to create a gun intelligence unit.
Now looking at where the murder rates increased and decreased: Newberry County went down from three murders to one, Orangeburg County dropped from 11 to 6, Lexington County dropped from 16 to 12, and Sumter also went down from 8 to 7. However, Richland county experienced an uptick rising from 33 in 2017 to 43 in 2018.
These numbers are from 2018 but certain counties, like Sumter County, are already experiencing an uptick in murder this year. The Sumter Sheriff and Police Departments say they are investigating 13 murders in 2019, a huge increase from the reported 7 murders in 2018. Sumter police attributed a few of these murders to gang-related shootings.
Officials report that the number of law enforcement officers assaulted also spiked in 2018, rising by 16% from the previous year.