North Charleston’s Murder Rate is Not Getting Any Better
In 2017, the Tri-County Area had more than 70 homicides for the third year in a row, with North Charleston responsible for almost half.
In the City of North Charleston alone, there were 35 homicides last year.
What are city leaders and law enforcement doing to bring down the murder rate in North Charleston?
What’s the Scope of North Charleston’s Murder Problem?
In 2016, the homicide rate for cities comparable to North Charleston was 6.5 per 100,000. North Charleston’s murder rate was 28.96.
- The Tri-County Area has seen 296 murders in the past four years;
- 51% of the victims are black;
- The rate of unsolved murders is rising (27% in 2017); and
- Half of the unsolved murders are in the City of North Charleston.
What’s the Solution?
The president of the National Action Network’s SC chapter says that there are three major issues that contribute to the violence in North Charleston:
- Firearms trafficking;
- Drug trafficking; and
- The failure of the education system.
He notes that: “It has become the norm to see people selling drugs on the corner now,” and that “the city has failed the black community on so many levels.”
What Programs are in Place in North Charleston to Solve the Crime Problem?
In the 1990s, a U.S. Department of Justice program called “Weed and Seed” was begun to combat crime in the area, but it has been phased out now:
Until its funding was slashed several years ago, the program offered a two-pronged approach: policing that targeted criminals — the “weeds” — followed by community involvement — the “seeds.”
“It got the police department, it got the faith leaders, community leaders and it also got social programming in place, so all of these social workers, mental health workers … to really work on a collaborative effort to address some of these issues in our community,” he said.
It appears that there are no such programs in place in North Charleston now, and there is no state or federal funding to put similar programs in place again.
So, What are City Leaders and Law Enforcement Doing?
Last year, one city councilman tried to shift the blame from city leaders, saying that advocacy groups like the National Action Network act “as if it’s our fault that these crimes are occurring.”
North Charleston’s Mayor last year attempted to put the blame on parents, saying in a Facebook message: “The problem is we can’t raise your children. It is your responsibility to raise your children.”
The Mayor has also suggested that the cause may be that law enforcement officers are policing less aggressively after a police officer shot and killed Walter Scott in 2015, drawing national attention to North Charleston’s police abuse problem:
“I honestly think that’s going to be dependent on the community acknowledging that we need to do that,” he said. “The individuals in the community, they’re too busy to complain, but they haven’t been too busy to come up with solutions. We had a solution. We cut the murder rate down to less than 10 one year, but it was because of aggressive policing.”
Is it too much to ask for North Charleston police to:
- Aggressively police crime, focusing on the root causes of the violence like drug trafficking and firearms; and
- Not harass citizens or shoot unarmed black men in the back?
I’m pretty sure citizens have never complained about aggressive policing of real crime… they complain about harassment of citizens who are not committing crimes, and they complain when law enforcement officers contribute to the problem by murdering unarmed citizens…
Charleston, SC and North Charleston Murder Defense Lawyer
Charleston area prosecutors are doing their part to combat the violence in our area – by aggressively prosecuting homicides and violent crime in Charleston, which means that, if you are charged with homicide in the Charleston area, you need an aggressive criminal defense attorney who is experienced in defending homicide cases.
If you have been accused of murder or any violent crime in the Charleston or Tri-County Area, contact Charleston criminal defense attorney Grant B. Smaldone now for a free consultation and review of your case by calling at (843) 808-2100 or by filling out our online contact form.