GREENVILLE Co., SC – Murder and sexual battery rates increased across the state in 2017, according to a newly released report done by the The State Law Enforcement Division (SLED).
In the annual report, violent crime included murder, sexual battery, robbery and aggravated assault.
“The crime rates are based on crimes per 10,000 residents of our fast growing state,” said SLED Chief Mark Keel in a press release. “While the overall rates for both violent and property crimes decreased, what is troubling are the increases in the number of murders, sexual battery, aggravated assaults and law enforcement officers assaulted in the state during 2017.”
All together, the results showed that violent crime rates went down across the state by 0.8% from 2016.
In the previous 10 years, violent crime rates went down overall by 45.1%.
Murder was a specific violent crime that increased at a rate of 1.7% from 2016 to 2017.
The report showed that in nearly 80% of murders committed in 2017, the weapon of choice was a firearm.
Greenville County had 32 reported murders that year; the second highest number below Charleston County.
Lieutenant Ryan Flood with the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office said that the county continues to expand, which is why the rate in the county is on par with the state average, adding that numbers often fluctuate.
“This year so far, we’re back up. We’re back up to 6 this year. So there’s no rhyme or reason, we try to be as present as we possibly can in the community but obviously these homicides aren’t occurring in our presence.”
The SLED report also showed that incidents of sexual battery were on the rise, increasing by 0.5% from 2016.
A third of the victims were found to be between the ages of 10 and 17 years old.
The issue stood out in Greenville County which reported making 100 arrests for the crime in 2017, compared to counties like Anderson which made 16 and Spartanburg which made 5.
Flood said that while there’s no reason for it, he does believe more people have been coming forward and using social media to discuss the issue.
“I don’t think necessarily that we have seen an increase, but what has been reported to law enforcement has been increased and that could be I think, a logical answer,” he said.
The full Uniform Crime Report can be found at http://www.sled.sc.gov/documents/CrimeReporting/SCCrimeBooks/2017%20Crime%20in%20South%20Carolina.pdf