South Carolina’s Murder Rate Decreases by 11.9% in 2022, but Remains Third Highest in Three Decades

South Carolina’s Murder Rate Decreases by 11.9% in 2022, but Remains Third Highest in Three Decades

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) has released its annual crime statistics, revealing a notable decrease in the state’s murder rate by 11.9 percent from 2021 to 2022. This reduction marks a significant shift from the heightened levels of violence experienced during the pandemic years, positioning 2022 as one of the more peaceful periods in recent years. However, despite this overall decline, the past year still ranks as the third most deadly in the past three decades in South Carolina.

The overall violent crime rate in South Carolina has seen a marginal reduction of 3.66 percent since reaching historic highs in 2020. Contrasting the decrease in violent crimes, 2022 witnessed an 11.1 percent increase in weapons law violations, a staggering 106.2 percent rise since 2013. Most of these violations involved firearms, predominantly handguns.

SLED Chief Mark Keel expressed significant concern about the gun violence trend, particularly among young people. He emphasized the need for collaborative efforts from law enforcement, elected officials, and community partners to ensure responsible gun ownership and accountability.

Aggravated assaults slightly increased by 0.5 percent, contributing to a 13.3 percent rise from 2018 to 2022. However, there was positive news in the form of reduced robbery rates, which decreased by 18.3 percent in 2022, reaching a three-decade low. This decline was accompanied by a 10.3 percent decrease in motor vehicle thefts, the lowest since 2013.

Sexual battery incidents also decreased by 10.5 percent, marking the lowest level in 30 years. Intimate partner assaults, larceny offenses, and drug violations have reverted to pre-pandemic levels.

Geographically, violent crimes in 2022 were most prevalent in Dillon, Orangeburg, Darlington, Fairfield, and Marlboro counties. In contrast, Edgefield, McCormick, Pickens, Dorchester, and Saluda counties reported the lowest violent crime rates. Edgefield, Fairfield, Union, Chesterfield, and Marion counties saw the most significant increases in violent crimes, while Greenwood, McCormick, Calhoun, York, and Anderson counties experienced notable decreases.

Keel commended the efforts of law enforcement officers in facing unprecedented challenges, stating that their dedication played a crucial role in preventing a worse crime situation. He remains optimistic about further improvements through collective efforts.

It’s important to note that SLED’s violent crime data is based on the FBI’s crime reporting program. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) also releases an annual report on “criminal victimization.” According to the DOJ’s latest report, the national violent victimization rate rose from 16.5 victimizations per 1,000 people in 2021 to 23.5 per 1,000 in 2022, highlighting a broader trend of increasing violence in the United States.

Author: CrimeDoor

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