Dorchester County Sheriff's office rolls out new team to cut crime

VIDEO: Dorchester County Sheriff's office rolls out new team to cut crime

DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The Dorchester County Sheriff's Office is rolling out a new Crime Saturation and Suppression Team (CST), with the goal to combat a recent uptick in violent crime.

"Right now, our officers are busy jumping calls and running back and forth, doing more reactive law enforcement than we
are doing proactive," Sheriff L.C. Knight said.

The sheriff's office hopes the new team will aid the department in being more proactive.

Instead of responding to calls, the saturation team will already be out in the neighborhoods, focusing on high-crime areas in Dorchester County.

They will also help collect information from the community, helping to inform the sheriff's office about whether a 2015 spike in homicides indicates a new trend, or an anomaly.

FBI data shows an overall declining trend in violent crime in Dorchester County since 2009, but according to the sheriff's office, the county saw an increase in homicides last year. According to coroners' reports, Dorchester County had 22 murders in 2015, 13 more than last year.

Sheriff Knight said the team is a way to offer better service to the community and will be comprised of existing deputies from units, ranging from patrol shift and narcotics, to investigations and the K-9 teams.

Officials say five to twelve deputies will make up the core of the team. They couldn't share where the teams would be working, but they say department statistics will help identify places to watch.

"We look at our reports and try to get an idea of what we call hot spots are," the sheriff said. "Where maybe a lot of cars are broken into, some of the recent spike we've had in our killings, our murders."

Once the saturation team is working in the area, officials hope they will get a better relationship with the community, get more intelligence out of it, and try to stop the crimes.

Authorities also hope familiar faces in neighborhoods will build community trust between residents and the department. They also believe increased patrols will discourage the criminals.

"Our guys have been instructed, stop. Talk with the community. Get a feel for the community," Sheriff Knight said. "By getting this relationship and some information fed back from the community, I hope this helps us stop some of these things before they occur."
The saturation team is expected to be active starting in late January.

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