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North Charleston's police chief speaks out about city's rising murder rate

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

North Charleston's police chief spoke out Wednesday about what he calls an alarming murder rate in his city.

So far this year there's been 21 murders, including two in the last two days.

"One is too many obviously," Driggers said.

Earlier on Wednesday, the National Action Network held a news conference and accused the police department of not doing enough to get guns off the streets.

Driggers says so far this year officers have made 135 gun related arrests, more than this time last year.

"I've heard on numerous occasions people say,'We know where the guns are coming from.' Well tell us and we'll put those people in jail," Driggers said.

Driggers says it's a small part of the population that's doing the killing.

"Those bad people, a very small portion, who are willing to take another's life or to shoot somebody. Those are the folks that we are trying to get off the street and we are," the chief explained."I think it can get better. I think we all have a lot of work to do, but it's not this police department's fault by itself."

Driggers defended his department from critics who say his officers are harassing people in certain neighborhoods.

He says it's all about crime prevention.

"We're trying to get ahead of the crime so that we don't have to be there when something bad happens," Driggers said.

At the same time he says having to handle so many murders is taking a toll on his officers, but not slowing them down.

"We're still standing there at every call, no matter who calls we're responding," Driggers said.

The chief says it will take cooperation from the community to bring the murder rate down.

"It's not gonna end with North Charleston. It's gonna end when the community says we had enough and we're gonna work with you to get the criminal element off the street," Driggers said.

At this time last year, North Charleston had 15 murders.

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