MARION COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Crime rates are up in parts of the Pee Dee. Officials with the Marion County Sheriff's Office say burglaries, larcenies and break-ins made a big jump since 2010. Some people in the area say they are not surprised by the numbers.
Sheriff Richardson broke down the county's crime rates for WMBF News.
Marion County Crime By The Numbers:
- Burglaries (Not including theft of motor vehicles): 2011 - 338; 2010 - 245
- Larcenies: 2011 - 341; 2010 - 321
- Vandalism of property: 2011 - 276; 2010 - 329
- Burglary alarms (including businesses): 2011 - 794; 2010 - 707
- Break ins (Average per month): 2011 - 53; 2010 - 21
- Homicides: 2011 - 2; 2010 - 0
- Assaults (Aggravated, simple assaults, assaults with intimidation): 2011 - 358; 2010 - 459
Sheriff Richardson says most of the break ins and larcenies occur on the northern end of the county near Marion and Mullins.
Some people living in those areas say they want more patrolling in their neighborhoods. Others are blaming the increased crime on themselves, saying there has been a drop in involvement of neighborhood watch organizations.
"A little more community awareness can deter a lot of those crimes," said Keithen Sanders living in Marion County.
"There just seems to be a lack of interest," said Rudolph Finkley living in Marion County.
Finkley says he used to be involved with Marion's Fox Watch, but is no longer active.
He says a lot of people have turned away from the organization while some newcomers have joined. But some people say there are reasons for the lack of interest.
"It's good to have a crime watch out there, but at the same time, some people living in the community feel as though there will be repercussions for what they encounter," said Kashonda Green living in Marion County.
Some people living in the are say they fear that their involvement with the community watch program may turn them into a target.
"I feel as though everybody is watching out for their own to remain safe and the community needs to come together to fight this crime," said Green.
The crime rate in Marion County has taken a turn for the worse.
According to Marion County Sheriff Mark Richardson, the average number of break ins per month are about 20 to 25.
But he says in December alone, there were 86 burglaries and larcenies in the county.
"I'm not surprised but that's just out of control," said Green.
Some people living in Marion County say the economy plays a major role in the crime rate.
"It's ridiculous, I mean - they just need somewhere else to direct all their energy with something to do and the unemployment rate. If they bring some jobs down here, people will work," said Cordelia Reynolds of Marion County.
The number of homicides investigated by the Sheriff's Office increased in 2011.
"A lot of my friends that I work with have lost their lives in their own homes. If you can't be safe in your own home, where can you be safe," said Green.
Deputies with the Marion County Sheriff's Office say many of the break ins happened in homes and businesses with no alarms or alarms that don't work.
The Sheriff says it is worth putting the money into a working alarm system to keep burglars out until deputies arrive.
"I know they're job is to protect and serve but they can't be everywhere all the time," said Green.
A lot of residents are taking extra caution to avoid being a victim.
"I try to stay alert, I watch over my place and circle around... If I see anything suspicious that doesn't seem right I will tell somebody or ask and talk about it with someone," said Sanders.