Crime rates are down in Goose Creek

Crime rates are down in Goose Creek

Goose Creek Police officers shop for presents with local children during the first annual Shop with a Badge event in December.

Almost one year-to-the-day since Chief LJ Roscoe took over as leader of the Goose Creek Police Department, she delivered an update on the city’s crime rate and the impact of its police force.

During the city’s monthly meeting on Tuesday, Chief Roscoe delivered her department report, which was encouraging. Her review of 2019 showed violent crime was down by 14 percent compared to the previous year.

“As a result of the violent crimes being down, our officers have had additional time to do some other activities that are important,” Roscoe said.

Officers’ self-generated reports have increased by 49 percent. Roscoe said that means officers have been able to be more proactive than reactive.

Roscoe highlighted several of the department’s community relations events from last year, including the city’s first annual trunk or treat and first annual National Night Out. Her department also partnered with the Berkeley County Habitat for Humanity to help build a home in Moncks Corner in 36 hours. For breast cancer awareness, officers participated in a fundraiser by paying to wear pink shoe laces; the department raised $1,000 to donate to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

She called the first annual trunk or treat at city hall an overwhelming success. Similarly, the turnout was much higher than expected for the national night out held in the Publix parking lot.

At the first annual Shop with a Badge event, Roscoe said officers weren’t sure what to expect but by the time it was over, everyone was eager for next year’s event.

“I don’t know who had a better time- the kids or the officers,” Roscoe said.

Councilwoman Gayla McSwain asked Roscoe what is the biggest challenge she has as chief of police. Roscoe replied that the wait time for officers to complete their training at the state’s one and only law enforcement training academy is a challenge. Roscoe, along with other area law enforcement officials, are pushing for the state to consider offering police training at local sites including Trident Technical College.

Goose Creek Mayor Greg Habib called the issue a “significant problem throughout the state,” and said he is working with state legislators to find solutions. Regarding the drop in violent crime, Habib said he frequently tells residents that crime in the city is not on the rise, in fact it is going down. He said social media is to blame for people thinking that there is more crime; when instead there is just more talk about it on social media platforms.

According to Roscoe, there were 148 Incidents of burglary- a decrease of 10.3 percent from 2018 and 65 incidents of motor vehicle theft-a decrease of 3 percent.

In 2018 there were 133 violent crimes reported compared to 114 last year.

Roscoe later told the Gazette that the most avoidable property crime is car break and enterings. She said in most cases when a property is stolen from a car, the doors were unlocked. She encouraged residents to be vigilant and lock the doors on their vehicles.

Habib praised Chief Roscoe and her department for their efforts to connect with community members. He said he knows the drop in crime is a result of the department’s work to build relationships in the community.

Roscoe agreed and said community relations events have made a huge difference because when residents are comfortable with their local law enforcement then they’re more likely to call and report suspicious activity.

“That’s what we’re trying to do is build all those bridges and let the officers meet the citizens and citizens meet the officers and I think we’re on the right track,” Roscoe said.