COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus, has disrupted the day-to-day lives of many individuals across South Carolina. Following the outbreak of Coronavirus in the state, the city of Charleston declared a state of emergency and issued a stay-at-home order for its residents. Although law enforcement and other governmental bodies are encouraging people to stay indoors, some parts of Charleston and its surrounding areas are unfortunately experiencing an increase in violent crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Police in Charleston has reported that violent crimes for March have doubled when compared to statistics from the same time last year. This includes an increase in reports of homicide, rape, and aggravated assault. Non-violent crimes in Charleston have also increased over 20 percent. However, some crimes in the city have decreased when compared to 2019, including drug violations and firearms stolen from vehicles.
Similarly, areas surrounding Charleston have also experienced an increase in violent crime during COVID-19. This includes North Charleston, where violent crimes increased by nearly 18 percent compared to the previous year. Included in the increase are reports of robberies, aggravated assault, and burglary. The nearby area of Dorchester County has also seen an increase of aggravated assault and vehicle theft compared to 2019 reports.
Police in Charleston County has stated that it may be too early to definitively say that COVID-19 has caused an increase in crime within the area. However, many officers in South Carolina are monitoring and preparing for specific crimes. Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds has stated that the city’s officers are monitoring issues related to property crimes, aggravated assault, domestic violence, and other criminal offenses. Additionally, officers across South Carolina are focusing on maintaining social distancing and other COVID-19 safety measures.
Assault, domestic violence, or other criminal charges in Charleston may have serious consequences, including heavy fines and jail time. Criminal convictions in South Carolina may even interfere with future employment. An experienced criminal defense attorney could advise you on your rights and protect your reputation. To talk to a knowledgeable lawyer, contact Adams & Bischoff, LLC today to schedule a consultation.