By the end of March last year, North Charleston had two homicides. But only a quarter of 2016 has passed and North Charleston already has four times that many.
North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey says, “We have grave concerns, but only time will tell us if this an anomaly or is this because we aren’t making as many traffic stops as we used to.”
Mayor Summey says since North Charleston Police Chief Driggers started in 2012, the amount of traffic stops has decreased.
Summey says, “We took a lot of guns off the street with the traffic stops, but we have curbed those numbers because we were criticized.”
He says instead the NCPD is trying to get officers more engaged in those neighborhoods.
Summey says, “We’re hiring 15 new community resource officers to go with the ones we have, and we’ve been putting a lot of our special units in the neighborhoods as well. Just going and talking to folks, just trying to develop that relationship where they feel like they can talk to us. We’re not your enemy, we’re your friend.”
With these eight homicides spread throughout the city, the mayor has a long list of areas that need attention.
Summey says, “The lower Dorchester Road corridor, the lower Rivers Avenue corridor, Ashley Phosphate Road area, and then the Rivers Avenue corridor in the 10 mile area, and then we have some segments in the lower area of Dorchester County in the city that we have those issues with as well.”
Since the start of 2016, North Charleston has seen more than 30 aggravated assaults and 10 reported rapes.
Summey says, “We’ve got to train people to be careful who you associate with, you know don’t put yourself in a position to be hurt, don’t put yourself in a position to be shot, don’t put yourself in a position with people that you don’t know or trust, that a rape becomes a potential possibility. Make wise decisions.”
North Charleston saw a total of 19 homicides in 2015. At this same rate, 2016 will have 32. Mayor Summey says it’s still early in the year and too soon to tell if this is a trend of violence in North Charleston.