CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Both Charleston and North Charleston beat the national FBI average for the percent of serious persons crimes they solve last year.
Persons crime include murder, forcible rape, aggravated assault and robbery.
The departments can be graded by their so-called clearance rates, and Charleston and North Charleston stand out the most when it comes to murder. The most recent FBI average for murder arrests is 62 percent, but Charleston is at 80 percent, and North Charleston is a near-perfect 94 percent.
"We want 100 percent obviously for the family and victims, but we like to look at that and gauge ourselves and see what we're at," Capt. Scott Perry of the North Charleston Detective Bureau said.
Mt. Pleasant is at 100 percent solve rate for murder but has only had two in the past three years.
For other crimes like robberies, both are still above average, but the percentages are lower, 54 percent for Mt. Pleasant, 40 percent for Charleston and 28 percent for North Charleston. Part of the reason is because of more crimes. Charleston had 62 robberies, while North Charleston had 203 and Mt. Pleasant had 13 through July.
Another big reason, though, is less willing witnesses.
"A lot of people think of bank robberies, 'Well who really was hurt? Do I even want to get involved and come forward'," Lt. Jack Weiss of the Charleston's Central Crimes Against Persons said. "Whereas with a murder, they may see that person's family everyday and they know that person can't speak up for themselves."
Both Charleston and North Charleston say their success is due to a handoff system where shifts overlap and information is passed down.
"If there's a robbery on Friday, Saturday, video is being collected, they have to-do lists that we sort of came up with years ago," Weiss said.
"We cross-train everybody at the department so they know how to respond to homicides or aggravated assaults or forcible rapes," Perry said.
They say solving crimes takes a team approach where the most important member is the community.
"It doesn't matter what I have that can look at phone data," Weiss said. "It doesn't matter what I have camera-wise and things. If you have the relationships in the community and people know you and trust you then they're going to be willing to talk to you."