MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Myrtle Beach Police Chief Amy Prock and 15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson are joining the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) in encouraging community members to report crimes after data released Thursday shows a massive increase in violent crime in South Carolina.
Prock encouraged the community to say something if they see something. Richardson and SLED Chief Mark Keel also echoed that.
“We make a difference by working with our community and working with all of those different organizations that help us,” Prock said. “It is no secret we have challenges within our community and in order to be successful we have to work together.”
“Gangs, drugs, and criminal access to guns continue to play a significant role in these increases,” Keel said.
15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson confirmed what Keel said. Richardson said he hopes legislators who are working to empty prisons see the statistics.
“During this sort of a crisis we don’t need to empty Lee and Kirkland and all of those prisons and put them right back on Main Street Loris or Main Street Conway,” Richardson said. “Crime’s bad enough where it is.”
Richardson added bond is a part of the problem. News13 reported Thursday that a man in Hartsville who was released from jail on bond after being charged with voluntary manslaughter was arrested again Tuesday in connection with another shooting incident.
The numbers released Thursday are just preliminary statewide numbers. Keel said SLED wanted to get the information out there to show just how serious the issue is in South Carolina.
|Motor Vehicle Theft||14,820||14,463|
“The preliminary data shows that we’re not immune to this disturbing trend of violent crime increasing in our state,” Keel said.
Murder went up 25% last year and aggravated assaults went up by about 9%, according to the numbers released. Keel said this is the first time in two years they’ve seen a substantial rise in arson cases.
Murders have increased 51% over the last five years, Keel said.
The full crime report with county-by-county data will be released later in 2021. Count on News13 for updates when that data is released.