CONWAY, SC (WBTW) - Horry County is one of the fastest growing areas in South Carolina, but despite that, the rate of violent crimes like murder, aggravated assaults and robbery are declining according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Agency.
The latest numbers from SLED say that violent crimes are down in Horry County police's jurisdiction from 2016 to 2017.
The Horry County Police Department says those numbers have continued to decrease into 2018 thanks to a new way of targeting crime through community engagement.
"If our community members come forward with what they're experiencing, it allows us to allocate our resources where they're most needed," Mikayla Moskov, HCPD's spokesperson said.
In the past year, Horry County police have responded to more tips and complaints from the community, and they say it is making a difference.
"When different neighborhoods were mentioned or different areas were mentioned as having specific problems, we would take our team out and target those. That has resulted in operations across the county to reduce various types of crime, particularly as it relates to violent crime and drug-related crime," Moskov said.
Since adopting the community-based approach, Horry County police have gone from seeing 23 murders and nonnegligent manslaughters in 2016 to 20 murders and nonnegligent manslaughters in 2018. Similarly, the number of forcible rapes have dropped from 226 in 2016 to 154 in 2018.
Larceny, robbery and motor vehicle theft rates have also decreased from 2016 to 2018 in Horry County police's jurisdiction.
This is all while Horry County's population grows at one of the fastest rates in the state.
In 2016 to 2018, Horry County's population size increased by 11,828 from 2016 to 2017, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Horry County police say they are able to keep violent crime rates down due to their new way of targeting crime.
"We have officers in various parts of the community because of these on-going efforts, and they're communicating more one-on-one with our officers, so that sort of engagement really helps," Moskov said.
To see SLED's list of crime rates across South Carolina, click here.
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