Charleston State of the City Address: Crime rate at all time low

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Charleston mayor Joe Riley on Tuesday night gave an in-depth report of the city's progress.

The first topic of discussion was job creation.

"More than 10 years ago, we started the Charleston Digital Corridor," said Riley. "This development initiative is focused on high-wage, creative industries."

Riley named a number of Charleston companies that have plans to bring hundreds of jobs to the city. One{}of the companies he named was{}SPARC, a computer software company looking to add 300 jobs.

Riley went on to discuss issues relevant to the city, including tourism, the impact of Boeing Dreamliners, the completion of I-526, developments in the Charleston Fire Department, improvements to the city's ongoing drainage project and historic redevelopment.

One of the most impressive improvements was that of the City of Charleston Police Department. Riley reported a 70{}percent{}decrease in violent crimes within the city over the last{}six years.

"From 909 violent crimes to 272, or there are 637 fewer victims of violent crime last year than 2007," Riley said.

Riley credited the leadership of Police Chief Gregory Mullen.

"This year, working with local, State and Federal authorities, we arrested 40 dangerous career criminals in a complicated, long investigated series of conspiracy cases," Riley said.

Chief Mullen said the drop was a result of never-ending teamwork and a strategic plan.

"It just focuses on how we as an organization work with our community, how we work together," said Mullen. "We operate as one team, not as a patrol division or an investigative division. When we have a problem, we put resources at it from all over the department."

The remarkable results were part of a five-year plan which laid out a specific plan partnerships and deployments. Mullen says the department makes a point to take a personal approach for each case.

"It's not about percentages, it's about victims," said Mullen. "And, every time we can prevent a violent crime, we prevent somebody from becoming a victim and having to go through that trauma that you'll never overcome once you're a victim."

Mullen says the department instituted a second five-year plan last year, which will be in place through 2017.