Police chiefs respond to FBI city crime rates

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Crime in North Charleston is on the up and in Charleston, it's on the way down, according to a report released by the FBI on Monday.

The annual uniform crime report conducted by the Bureau reveals the City of North Charleston saw an increase of 13 percent in violent crime in 2012. That same year, the FBI reports the City of Charleston's violent crime cases decreased by 26 percent.

"The reason the crime numbers have come down is because it is a top priority and we've got the best police department, the best staff, funding, and best led police department in the country," City of Charleston Mayor Joe Riley said. "It is the first priority in our budget -- the first money goes to public safety and it is our day in and day out commitment."

City of Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen says he credits his officers on the streets and their dedication for the drop in crime rates.

"If there is a crime that happens in their area they take it personally and they want to do everything they can to make sure crime doesn't happen," said Mullen.

Mullen also credits the police department having a philosophy where they can have a positive influence in what can happen in the community.

"There are a lot of people that think things are going to happen and there is nothing you can do about it. And while there are going to be crimes that we can't prevent what we have tried to do in our organization is that we are going to do every possible thing that we can to prevent and intervene as quickly as possible to crimes when they do occur," he said.

Just north of the Holy City, there's a different set of statistics for the North Charleston Police Department. According to the new FBI data, the number of murders in North Charleston more than doubled from 2011 to 2012, with six murders recorded in 2011 and 13 murders last year.

North Charleston Police Chief Eddie Driggers responded to the numbers in a statement.

"Statistics tell only part of the story of what is happening in the community, and don't always illustrate the hard work that is going on between police and citizens to improve quality of life. We continue to do everything we can to partner with the citizens to make this the safest community they could possible live in," he said.

For the towns of Mount Pleasant and Summerville, the FBI annual data shows that crimes rates have remained relatively unchanged for the past two years.