Aiken, SC—Four of the five people charged connected to a September murder in Aiken, are teenagers. You may remember another case from the beginning of this year when Aiken County Officers charged six teens in connection with the murder of their classmate.
These incidents made us question the differences officers are noticing with violent young offenders.
The Aiken Department of Public Safety shared their records with NewsChannel 6 for the number of juveniles ages 15-21 who committed violent crimes against people in 2016 and year to date 2017.
So far this year, Aiken Public Safety has charged 10 teens with murder or attempted murder. In 2016, no one in that age range faced those charges. While it stands out, Lt. J.D. Mahoney says that number alone does not suggest an upward trend.
“I think that indicates a bunch of youthful offenders, young adults making poor decisions and sometimes when those young adults are together, they get caught up in things that they didn’t intend to,” says Lt. Mahoney.
The number of total arrests is up this year compared to last in the city of Aiken. However, the number of juvenile arrests is down. This is indicative of an overall county trend according to data from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety.
Thursday, Lt. Mahoney stressed the importance for kids to get involved in some kind of activities, even before they get to their teenage years.
“If they don’t have something positive in their life or giving them a good direction, it’s too easy to get sucked into some of the negative aspects of life on the streets so to speak.”
Their department has programs like Pencils and Putters, Books for Bikes and the Police Athletic League. Lt. Mahoney also says they realize they cannot arrest their way out of crime.
“Working together with our community partners is what is going to allow us to make Aiken a safer place,” says Lt. Mahoney.