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Violent crime decreases in Ridgeland, Hardeeville

Subheadline: 
900 arrests made among town, city

The town of Ridgeland and the city of Hardeeville both saw decreases in the number of violent crimes reported in 2017, according to each department’s statistics.

In Ridgeland, the number of violent crimes decreased from 173 in 2016 to 97 in 2017. The highest reported violation last year were narcotics, 38.

“We were very pleased with the reduction in violent crimes,” Ridgeland Police Chief Richard Woods said. “I believe it’s attributable to several factors, including directed patrols to address areas where we may be having problems and the implementation of the camera system.”

Woods said as people learn about the existence of the camera system, it deters crime.

“Criminals prefer to remain unnoticed,” he said. “Another factor in keeping the statistics down would be that we work hard to improve the quality of life for the people of Ridgeland and hold criminals accountable.”

Woods acknowledged there are peaks and valleys in regards to the statistics, realizing that stats could change overnight and one person could wreak havoc on the numbers.

“One example of how the numbers can change would be for one individual being responsible for multiple burglaries over a period of several days,” he said. “In either 2012 or 2013, we had one person responsible for almost half of our burglaries for the year.”

As far as the jump in the number of narcotics violations, Woods said the department’s strategy to combat illegal drugs has not changed; rather there has been a peak in the numbers.

“I would expect that number to increase in 2018,” he said. “With the attention the opioid crisis is receiving and prescriptions becoming more difficult to obtain, the addicts are returning to street drugs such as heroin, meth and crack.”

There was one reported arson in 2016 and none in 2017; assaults dropped from 13 to six; assault and battery incidents dropped from 27 to 18; criminal sexual conduct incidents remained at two.

Reported domestic disputes dropped from 35 to 9; there were no homicides in the town last year (compared to two in 2016); armed robbery reports dropped from six to two in 2017.

Strong armed robberies dropped from three incidents to two in 2017; there was one less shooting incident with two reported in 2017 compared to three in 2016; and weapons violations dropped from three to one incident in 2017.

According to the Ridgeland PD data, Ridgeland Police Department officers responded to 13,349 calls for service with 850 cases total being generated. A total of 383 arrests were made.

Hardeeville crimes decrease

In Hardeeville, the number of reported aggravated assault violations decreased from 22 to 16 in 2017; burglary violations decreased from 59 to 20, and robbery violations fell from 20 in 2016 to 15 in 2017. Simple assaults, counterfeit-forgery violations, vandalism, motor vehicle thefts, and weapons violations also decreased.

There were two homicides, a fact not lost on Hardeeville Police Chief Sam Woodward.

“The number of manslaughter incidents increased from none in 2016 to two in 2017,” he said. “The Hardeeville Police Department worked diligently on both manslaughter cases in 2017, resulting in one solved and closed case, and one solved and pending trial case.”

Two areas saw an increase: shoplifting (from 26 in 2016 to 30 incidents in 2017); and reported drug equipment violations (from 18 to 37 in 2017).

“The Hardeeville Police Department has placed its focus on increasing officer presence, patrols, and enforcement actions within the city to assist in deterring crime and will continue to do so,” Woodward said.

There were 13,330 incidents reported in the city in 2017. Woodward said there was 509 arrests in 2017 compared to 448 in 2016.

“With any projected growth of residential infrastructure, as well as commercial infrastructure, there will always be a need to equip the city with additional resources such as law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel in order to adequately provide safety measures for members and visitors to the city,” he said.

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