Reports show crime is decreasing in Florence

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Crime trends are down for both the city of Florence and Florence County.

"The biggest decrease that we saw was in reported criminal sexual conduct. That was down by 71 percent," Florence Police Chief Allen Heidler said.

Florence Police Chief Allen Heidler said reported crimes from January to June, compared this time to last year, are showing great improvement.

"Burglary was down 15 percent," said Heidler.

But it's not just the City of Florence seeing positivity when it comes to reported crime trends.

"Probably 30 percent fewer burglaries and maybe approximately 50 percent fewer vehicle thefts," Major Michael Nunn with the Florence County Sheriff's Office said.

Major Nunn said overall, Florence County is down in crime a little more than two percent.

So what's behind this positive decrease?

"There is really a debate going on as to what the reason to that is. Some would attribute it to an improving economic situation," Nunn said.

Nunn added that better policing, changes in state law could be behind the improvements.

While the sheriff's office can't say for sure what's helping to keep crime lower in the county, a recent trend investigators are seeing is less burglaries and vehicle thefts.

In just the past couple of months, these numbers have dropped and Nunn says more than likely, it's because of a new program being enforced.

"Crimes you would expect to be directly affected by the DDACTS enforcement model. We are going to get further down in the numbers and hopefully analyze these trends and see where we can improve even more," said Nunn.

Back at the Florence Police Department, Chief Heidler said stronger community relationships with police could be behind safer streets.

"Increasing neighborhood watch associations and actually having the officers work the geographical areas that the neighborhood associations are taking place,"Heilder said.

Heidler said more senior officers are out on the streets and not sitting behind the desk as much.

"If you are a victim of crime, you are not going to think that these lower percentages are a big deal. So we have to continually strive to reduce crime," Heidler said.

Both agencies stressed the importance of  residents being involved in keeping an eye on your neighborhood.

If you see anything out of the ordinary you should report it immediately.

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