North Charleston PD on pace to seize more guns, make more gun arrests in 2017
Perception is reality in North Charleston, where police facing scrutiny over the rising rate of violent crime have leveraged social media to show their recent efforts to address the problem of illegal drugs and guns on North Charleston streets.
The frequent Facebook posts aren’t simply for show. North Charleston Police are on pace to arrest more criminals on gun charges, and seize more guns in 2017 than in each of the two previous years.
Statistics provided in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by ABC News 4 show North Charleston Police seized 386 firearms from January through June 2017, and arrested 283 people on gun charges.
If that pace continues, NCPD will seize 772 guns this year, and put 566 people in jail – 253 more guns and 172 more arrests than the previous year. NCPD arrested 394 people on firearm charges and seized 564 guns in 2016. In 2015, NCPD seized 519 guns and made 309 gun arrests.
Data provided by North Charleston Police regarding gun arrests also gives fresh insight into the areas where most the gun seizures and arrests are taking place, as well as the ages of the suspects.
The most gun seizures by North Charleston Police in 2015-16 came in the Chicora-Cherokee (66) and Charleston Farms (65) neighborhoods. As of June, there were 19 guns seized in Chicora-Cherokee in 2017, and 26 in Charleston Farms, which leads all communities for the year.
Most people arrested for guns in 2015-16 (a total of 577) were between 17 and 30 years old, NCPD says. The age bracket with the most gun arrests was 20-25, with 271 combined in 2015-16, and 90 so far in 2017. That’s on pace to exceed 2016 by 44 arrests.
The age group with the next highest number of gun arrests over the past two-and-a-half years is 17-19, according to NCPD. There were 152 people in that age bracket arrested in 2015-16, and, so far, 74 have been arrested in 2017.
As arrests are on pace to increase year over year, so is North Charleston’s homicide rate. In 2016, the city recorded its deadliest year on record, with 32 homicides. There had been 20 homicides in the city by the end of June this year, on pace for a new record 40 murders.
North Charleston Police say a special assignment task force has been making increased patrols in specified areas of the city in response to community worries about violence, leading to more arrests and gun seizures, as well as drug seizures.
NCPD officials were unable to provide data for the number of guns seized since 2015 which had been reported stolen or had obliterated serial numbers, or the number of guns seized that were later connected to a violent crime investigation.