Lowcountry law enforcement, community activists searching for ways to curb increase in violent crime

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Increases in violent crime and gun violence are on the radar of Lowcountry law enforcement and community activists after a recent string of shootings and crime across the area.

Law enforcement and community leaders say they are hoping to reverse the trend seen in recent week across the Tri-County area. Leaders alike say the violence is out of hand.

In a matter of weeks, nearly two dozen people have been wounded or killed after a violent crime taking place in several local towns and cities. The most recent, a North Charleston mass shooting leaving one dead and 14 others injured.

The rise in crime is raising concerns for the community and leaders who say something needs to be done.

“They are extremely concerning, extremely concerning but I’m not surprised,” says community activist and Pastor, Thomas Dixon. “We have to seriously address gun violence.”

The uptick in crime coming in the form of stabbings, shootings and other violent crime across the Lowcountry all on top of COVID-19 and other existing issues. Pastor Dixon says the impacts have hit minority communities like African Americans the hardest.

“There’s only so much mentally or psychologically that any group of people, any person or group of people can take before there’s going to be a breaking point,” says Pastor Dixon.

A breaking point coming to a head in North Charleston over the weekend leading to the mass shooting injuring 14 and killing one. Officials with the North Charleston Police Department (NCPD) say they are searching for multiple shooters in the incident, leaving the surrounding communities on edge. Officials say all of the injured victims have been released from the hospital.

“Gun violence is a problem in our communities that we are addressing through different strategies to get the guns off of the street,” says Deputy Chief Scott Deckard with NCPD.

Deputy Chief Deckard says despite this weekend’s mass shooting, crime in North Charleston has remained flat compared to 2020. Deckard says the department continues to use a predictive policing approach in hopes of preventing additional violent crime.

“Data analysis, the victimization, the neighborhoods and communities that are seeing an uptick in crime are provided the resources to address those issues,” says Deputy Chief Deckard.

It’s an issue catching the eye of leaders and law enforcement across the area who say they are now searching for ways to reverse the trends. Deputy Chief Deckard says NCPD relies on the community for help.

“That helps us in our objectives to rid the communities of violence so the community plays a huge role and working together with the community makes us a whole lot more effective,” says Deputy Chief Deckard.

Activists and leaders are hoping they can come to the table to find a solution sooner rather than later.

“When it comes to our conversation and our interaction when it comes to how we set up whatever we’re going to do in order to end this violent crime and in particular, gun violence,” says Pastor Dixon.

Community activists say they plan to meet with NCPD Friday afternoon to discuss ways to drive down crime.

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