UNION COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – SLED’s 2022 annual report shows overall, violent crime in the state of South Carolina has gone down, but has increased in Union County.
7NEWS spoke to law enforcement in Union and they shared their numbers with us.
81 is the number of assaults that were reported in the city in 2022, officials said that number went up by 84% since the previous year.
“It’s a never-ending cycle of trying to combat that type of crime,” said Police Chief, Robbie McGee.
Law enforcement said the number of assaults, breaking and entering and larcenies went up from 2021 to 2022.
“It’s definitely not a case of officers or deputies with the county not doing their jobs, we’re out there, but obviously you can’t be everywhere at once,” said McGee.
SLED’s report puts Union County under the “Greatest Increases in Violent Crime Rates” category, showing that type of crime went up by 44.64%.
“I would say there is an increase in violent crime in these areas, but you really have to break it down and see exactly where it’s coming from, whether it be the city or the county,” said Sheriff Jeff Bailey.
“There’s a lot of factors that lead to the violent crime, we have drug issues and that fuels a lot of the assault offenses.”
Bailey said a chunk of the numbers are in the city.
“The city might be high in one area where we’re low in an area, and then turn around and we might have a high crime rate in something else and they’re low,” he said.
McGee, said he’s dealing with an officer shortage, but they’re making use of the officers they have.
“We’re still short-handed, still trying to find people, but we’ve tried to get creative in how we schedule people, we’ve done some overlapping shifts and tried to find some key times and locations where things were happening,” he said.
Police believe the assaults are mostly targeted.
“It’s not typically random assaults going on, it’s not people being assaulted walking out of Walmart or anything like that,” said McGee.
The Sheriff said most of these statistics are from repeat offenders.
“The system, in my opinion, is messed up, clearly, it’s just not working. We’re just continuously putting these people right back on the streets and every time we do it, we’re just endangering the citizens,” he said.
According to McGee, to stop violent crimes, investigators are coming in on the weekends and nights to have more of a presence.
The SLED report also shows that property crimes in Union County went up in 2022.