PCSO: Burglaries on the decline in Dacusville area

DACUSVILLE — The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office worked quickly to ease fears after an Upstate TV station aired a news story about crimes in the Dacusville community last week.

9-02 Page 2A.inddThe station “led citizens to believe that there has been an increase in residential burglaries of epidemic proportions,” chief deputy Creed Hashe said in a statement to the media. “Sheriff’s office stats do not support this notion.”

Hashe said sheriff’s office officials were not interviewed or asked for input prior to the story being aired early last week. Instead, he said, officials had only received a request for copies of incident reports from two home break-ins last month in the Dacusville area, which the sheriff’s office defines as within the Dacusville fire district.

A more detailed snapshot of the activity within the area showed that during the months of June, July and August last year, the sheriff’s office investigated 12 burglaries within the county typically referred to by locals as the Dacusville community, Hashe said.

“In comparison to the same time period for this year, there have been nine burglaries reported to the sheriff’s office in the Dacusville community, which reflects a 25 percent reduction or decline in the number of reported incidents of this type,” Hashe said. “Currently, sheriff’s detectives are following several leads in an attempt to identify the individuals involved in these thefts.”

Numbers provided by the sheriff’s office showed 646 burglaries county-wide in 2013, with 223 cases solves for a clearance rate of 34 percent. In 2014, 190 of 594 county burglary cases were solved — a clearance rate of 32 percent. So far in 2015, officers have cleared 31 percent of burglary cases, with 117 solved out of 372 reported.

According to the latest data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, Hashe said, the clearance rate for burglaries was at 13.1 percent as a national average in 2013.

“The sheriff’s office is quick to point out that a single incident of crime is one too many, but realistically looking at crime across the Southeast region and more specifically the Upstate, we see that Pickens County has not been forced to reckon with the crime levels plaguing surrounding jurisdictions,” Hashe said. “Pickens County residents have become stakeholders in the vision to eradicate crime at all levels from our county, and it is through the partnership between the sheriff’s office, city municipalities, businesses, the media and most importantly our citizens who live here that we continue to see positive efforts in the quest to reduce crime.”

Hashe pointed to the recent arrest of a convicted sex offender accused by police of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl as an example of the partnership between the sheriff’s office and Pickens County residents. Deputies received numerous leads and information after local media outlets spread the word that the sheriff’s office was looking for the man, and he was arrested several days later at a home in Anderson County.

The sheriff’s office encourages Pickens County residents to attend local crime watch meetings and to contact the sheriff’s office with questions concerning issues within their respective neighborhoods, Hashe said. The chief deputy said social media is “a great tool” for connecting with friends, family members and daily entertainment, but residents should not depend on postings online being the absolute truth.

“The sheriff’s office has received numerous calls this week from area residents who have read or seen false and embellished information stemming from social media,” he said.

Pickens County sheriff Rick Clark, a lifelong resident of Pickens County said he has “faith and trust that our citizens will not be lured into the pitfalls of misinformation.”

“Our local media outlets work very closely with law enforcement, and I truly believe that they want to keep viewers informed; however, technology such as social media has oftentimes been the pathway to spread unverified information, leading to panic and paranoia which ultimately leads our communities to develop the wrong perception,” he said. “It is no secret that all counties have burglaries, thefts and drug problems, but together through a strong partnership with our citizens and small business owners, we will continue to keep the criminals in Pickens County on the run.”