NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – North Charleston Police Chief Reggie Burgess says the city has seen a rise in domestic violence cases dating back to 2019. Law enforcement and activists are teaming up to curb the increase.
Leaders and activists are calling it an epidemic inside of a pandemic. The city of North Charleston Police Department has investigated four homicides so far in 2021, three of them were domestic violence related homicides. The department had more than a 1,000 domestic violence incidents in 2019. Chief Burgess is calling on everyone community wide to do better.
“People we’ve got to come together,” says Chief Burgess. “All that talking about what we’re trying to do, how we’re going to get together. We need to be about being about getting together to stop this.”
With Domestic violence crimes continuing to rise in the city, Chief Burgess says the increase in domestic violence related crime dates back to 2019.
“In 2019 we actually experienced 1,028 domestic violence incidents, 180 of those being categorized as domestic violence in high aggravated nature,” says Chief Burgess.
It’s a problem leaders say has only got worse during the COVID-19 pandemic. The most recent, a women shot dead in a domestic violence incident last Friday off Dorchester Road.
“We have folks dying and they’re still losing their lives because other folks don’t either care about them or think they can get around the law,” says Chief Burgess.
A fight against an epidemic, Assistant Solicitor with the 9th Circuit Court Jessica Baldwin says curbing the crime is a community effort.
“Please contact law enforcement, please contact your community resources so that you can get out of your situation,” says Baldwin.
Part of the problem, a crime that is sometimes hiding in plain sight. Chief Burgess says offenders are finding ways around the law.
“So we have to go through so many things to get to the core of the problem to actually make the right decision,” says Chief Burgess.
Taking the fight out of the community and cutting it off at the source of the crime. Chief Burgess says it’s about taking care of one another.
“We need to be in the homes now, that’s where it starts, in the homes,” says Chief Burgess. “If we can get into those houses and figure things out and listen and help, we can make a difference.”
Chief Burgess says the department and activist groups will continue to seek out dangerous domestic situations while providing appropriate resources.