COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) on Monday released the 2019 Uniform Crime Report, which indicated a rise in murders, assaults, and assaults on law enforcement across the state, despite a statewide drop in property crimes.
According to the report, murders were up 6.7%, aggravated assaults increased 4%, and assaults on law enforcement officers increased a staggering 20%.
The murder rate is particularly alarming, with 441 reported homicides; the third highest recorded number since the 1970’s.
SLED Chief Mark Keel said that he is “extremely concerned by the increasing amount of violence in our state” particularly “the number of murders, assaults, and violent attacks on law enforcement officers.”
Keel said that he fears the upward trend may continue “due to the many stresses we have faced so far in 2020.”
Overall, the rate of violent crimes in SC remained relatively steady, increasing less than 1% between 2018 and 2019.
The outlook is not entirely grim, as the rate of property crimes in 2019 dropped by 5.3%, continuing a five year downward trend.
Keel celebrated the “steady decline in the rate of property crimes, including burglary and arson.”
He also noted that the rates for robbery and sexual battery have declined as well.
Keel said that to address the issues, law enforcement and communities need to work together.
The data provided in the Uniform Crime Report is aggregated from law enforcement agencies across the state. Click here to read the report in full.