South Carolina Cultural Indicators 2019: Crime

Crime

Crimes Per 100,000 Population

In 2016, approximately 185,824 Type I crimes—murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft—were reported in South Carolina, about 4.2 times as many as were reported in 1960 (35,743).[23]

Since 1960, South Carolina’s crime rate, which considers population changes, increased 150%, from 1500.2 crimes per 100,000 residents to 3,745.6 in 2016.  Since peaking in 1991, South Carolina’s crime rate has dropped by 41%.[24]

From 1960 to 1989, South Carolina’s crime rate was below the national average. Since 1990, the state’s crime rate has averaged about 27% above the national average. While South Carolina’s share of the overall national population has remained stable at about 1.5% from 1960 to 2016, its share of all crimes committed in the United States has risen at a faster rate, from 1.1% to 2%.[25]


 

References

[23] South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), Crime in South Carolina 2015, and earlier editions. Available at www.sled.sc.gov/documents/CrimeReporting/SCCrimeBooks/2015%20Crime%20in%20South%20Carolina.pdf.  Access verified Oct. 9, 2018. National data and older state data from U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Criminal Justice Information Services Division, Crime in the United States 2016, and earlier editions.  Available at https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016. Access verified Oct. 9, 2018.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.

Violent Crime

Violent Crimes Per 100,000 Population

In 2016, there were 24,896 violent crimes reported in South Carolina. This is down from a peak of 37,756 in 1994, but it is about 7 times as many as were reported in 1960 (3,424). In 2016, about 13.3% percent of South Carolina’s crimes were of a violent nature, compared to 13.9% for the nation.[26] 

In 2016, South Carolina’s violent crime rate was 501.8 per 100,000 population, about 1.3% higher than in 2015. Since 1974, the state’s violent crime rate has been, on average, 39% above the national average.[27] Since peaking in 1994 (1,030.5), South Carolina’s violent crime rate has fallen 53%. During the same time, the national violent crime rate fell 46 percent.[28]


References

[26] Ibid.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Ibid.

Prison Population

Prisoners Per 100,000 Population

Since 1980, South Carolina’s adult prison population sentenced to more than 1 year has increased 174%, from 7,427 to 20,371 in 2016. At the same time, the U.S. adult prison population increased 361%, from 315,000 to 1,458,000.[29]

In 2016, 1 in every 244 persons (0.41%) of South Carolina’s population was in a state federal prison serving a sentence of at least one year, slightly less than the national average of 1 in every 222 (0.45%). South Carolina’s incarceration rate is the 19th highest in the nation.[30]

As of June 30, 2018, 70% of all inmates (13,335) under the governance of the South Carolina Department of Corrections were serving time for at least one violent offense. Sixty percent of prisoners (11,355) were black, and 37% (7,047) were white.  Ninety-three percent of all inmates (17,605) were male, and 49% (9,378) did not have either a high school diploma or GED.[31]

At the end of the fiscal 2018 year, the largest percentages of prisoners in South Carolina were incarcerated for homicide (21%), dangerous drugs (15.9%), burglary (13.3%), robbery (12.8%), and sexual assault (8.3%).[32] The average prison sentence was 14.9 years.[v]


 

References

[29] E. Ann Carson, U.S. Department of Justice, Prisoners in 2016, NCJ 251149, Jan. 2018, and earlier editions. Available at www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/p16_rv.pdf. Access verified Oct. 9, 2018.

[30] Ibid.

[31] South Carolina Department of Corrections, “Profile of Inmates in Institutional Count (Including Inmates on Authorized Absence) as of June 30, 2018.” Available at www.doc.sc.gov/research/InmatePopulationStats/ASOF_FY18_Institutional_Count_Profile.pdf. Access verified Oct. 9, 2018.

[32] South Carolina Department of Corrections, “Most Serious Offense Distribution of SCDC Total Inmate Population as of June 30, 2018.” Available at www.doc.sc.gov/research/InmatePopulationStats/ASOF_Most_Serious_Off_6-30-18.pdf. Access verified Oct. 9, 2018.

[33] South Carolina Department of Corrections, “Profile of Inmates in Institutional Count (Including Inmates on Authorized Absence) as of June 30, 2018.” Available at www.doc.sc.gov/research/InmatePopulationStats/ASOF_FY18_Institutional_Count_Profile.pdf. Access verified Oct. 9, 2018.

Child Abuse

Child Abuse Victims Per 100,000 Children

In 2016, there were 34,681 investigations of child abuse in South Carolina involving 65,151 children.[34] Not every report of child abuse or neglect, though, is authentic. Each report must be investigated to determine whether enough evidence exists to conclude that abuse occurred.

Of the number of child cases reported in 2016, 17,331 (26.6%) were identified as actual victims, about 35% less than in 2015. Seventy six percent were first-time victims. Put another way, about 1 in every 17 children in South Carolina was the subject of an investigation of child abuse, but only 1 in every 63 was substantiated as a victim. By comparison, about one in every 110 children nationwide was substantiated as a victim.[35]

Since 1995, the victim rate per 100,000 children has increased by 30% for the state, whereas the national rate has decreased by 38%.[36] 

In 2016, 27% of South Carolina’s child abuse victims were age two or younger, with the frequency of abuse declining as a child’s age increases. Among cases where the sex of the victim is known, victims were almost evenly split between boys and girls (50.2% for boys and 49.8% for girls). Fifty percent were white, 38% were black, and 5% were Hispanic.[37] By comparison, South Carolina’s total youth population in 2016 was 61% white, 30% black, and 9% Hispanic.[38]


 

References

[34] U.S Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families. Child Maltreatment 2016. Washington, DC: USGPO, Feb. 1, 2018. Available at www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/cm2016.pdf. Access verified Oct. 10, 2018.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Ibid.

[37] Ibid.

[38] American Fact Finder, U.S. Census Bureau, “Sex by Age: 2016 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Tables B01001, B01001A, B01001B, and B01001I.” Available at https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_16_1YR_B01001&prodType=table. Access verified Oct. 10, 2018.

Youth Crime

Juvenile Cases Referred to the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice

One way to measure a state’s cultural improvement or decline is by its trends in juvenile delinquency, specifically in the number of delinquent cases referred to the state’s Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). Since 1998, such cases have decreased in South Carolina by 52%.[39]

In the 2016-17 fiscal year, 13,591 cases were referred to the DJJ, 12% less than the previous year (15,429). The most common offenses associated with delinquency referrals to the family court in 2016-17 included assault and battery third degree (2,018 cases), shoplifting (818 cases), and public disorderly conduct (806 cases).[40] 

Of the cases referred to family court in 2016-17, 8,329 (61%) were prosecuted. Of these, 63% received dispositions of probation, and 20% resulted in commitment to the custody of the DJJ.[41]

In the 2016-17 fiscal year, 10% of all juvenile cases (1,397) were classified as violent or serious, up from 1,257 (8.1% of all cases) in the previous year.[42]

In 2016-17, 63% of juvenile offenders in the DJJ were black, and 78% were male. Of those referred to the DJJ, 26% were age 13 or younger, 48% were age 14 or 15, and 26% were age 16 or older.[43]


 

References

[39] South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice, 2016-2017 Annual Statistical Report, and earlier reports. Sept. 2017. Available at www.state.sc.us/djj/pdfs/2016-17%20Annual%20Statistical%20Report.pdf. Access verified Oct. 11, 2018. 

[40] Ibid.

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid.

Youth Crime

Juvenile Cases Referred to the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to control victims to engage in commercial sex acts or labor services against his/her will. Trafficking takes two forms: sex trafficking and labor trafficking

  • Sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age.[44] It is found in a wide variety of venues within the sex industry, including residential brothels, escort services, fake massage businesses, strip clubs, and street prostitution.[45]
  • Labor trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, using force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.[46] It is found in diverse labor settings including domestic work, small businesses, large farms, and factories.[47]

In 2017, 118 cases of human trafficking involving 198 victims were reported in South Carolina.  Of these, 80 cases involved sex trafficking, 27 involved labor trafficking, and 7 involved both sex and labor trafficking. Seventy-eight percent of all reported trafficking involved females, 67% involved adults, and 22% involved foreign nationals.[48]

Since 2007, 453 cases of human trafficking have been reported in South Carolina involving as many as 978 victims.[49] 


 

References

[44] 22 USC § 7102.

[45] National Human Trafficking Hotline, “Human Trafficking.” Available at https://humantraffickinghotline.org/type-trafficking/human-trafficking.  Access verified Oct. 11, 2018.

[46] 22 USC § 7102.

[47] National Human Trafficking Hotline, “Human Trafficking.” Available at https://humantraffickinghotline.org/type-trafficking/human-trafficking.  Access verified Oct. 11, 2018.

[48] Ibid.

[49] Ibid.