SLED releases annual crime report, murder rates up statewide

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – The numbers are in. A new report released by SLED shows crime is up in South Carolina. But what do those numbers really mean to you at home?

Experts say even though the numbers in the newly released report can seem like cause for concern it’s important to look behind those statistics.

The report shows murders in South Carolina are at a five year high.

“Sometimes an increase in reported crime means that police are talking more to the citizens and getting more information,” said Brian Cranny, a professor of criminal justice at Greenville Technical College.

He says the numbers can be a reflection of law enforcement doing their jobs well.

“It also tells us that what they’re doing is great and if they had more manpower to address those crimes it would do even better,” said Cranny.

To break down the report: murder in Anderson County increased from 2017 to 2018, in Greenville County there were 3 less murders from year to year, and there was an increase in Spartanburg County.

Cranny says this could be due to development in Greenville County displacing some of the crimes to neighboring areas.

“Crime generally happens in the shadows. So if everything is out in the light and there are witnesses around you’re going to get some of that crime driven down,” said Cranny.

Another key statistic in the report assault on police officers. SLED says this has increased 16-percent from 2017 to 2018. Something cranny sees as a national trend.

“A simple assault on a police officer may not have necessarily been reported in the past the officer may have brushed it off and moved on. But now they may be focusing a little more on that,” said Cranny.

He also says exactly how these numbers were gathered is important as well. This report uses incidents rather than specific crimes to limit skewing the results. Cranny says one example is Todd Kohlhepp, who is responsible for several serious crimes, but committed all in one incident.

“Now we report that as this was an incident that involved all these different crimes, rather than it looks like this huge crime spree was going on,” said Cranny.

As far as what these numbers mean to you at home, well not a whole lot. Cranny says reports like this are mostly used so law enforcement can plan for the future.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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