SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – Some crime is on the rise in the city of Spartanburg, and that includes violent crime. The Spartanburg Police Department said one of its main concerns facing upstate is drug abuse.
“We are part of a company that saves lives, it is what we do every day, our main objective is to save lives, and one of the things that has helped us more than anything is the introduction of NARCAN,” said Major Art Littlejohn.
Each officer receives NARCAN to help reverse the effects of drugs, such as heroin or opioids. Maj Art Littlejohn said since the department started using NARCAN in 2018, they have had 160 positive results in 219 overdose calls.
Other community concerns, listed by the department in a public briefing, are guns, mental health issues and homelessness.
Although violent crime has declined, overall, over the past 10 years, Spartanburg police say it is on the rise again.
“Just like the stock market, you will have ups here and there. Unfortunately, 2020 and 2021 were increases that exceeded the norm,” said chef Alonzo Thompson.
Police Chief Alonzo Thompson said some areas have more violent crime than others.
“Obviously the red shows where there is higher density, and right now that area of the city is the Highlands community, Prince Hall, Morris Ridge,” he said.
He wants to clarify that the majority of them are not random attacks.
“Even with the rise in violent crime, it’s rare for the victim to be attacked by someone they don’t know,” Chief Thompson said.
He said there were several ways to fight back.
“Good old fashion police, always trying to develop these relationships, to get the information we need, to acquire technology that will be a force multiplier for us. Once it’s in place, like gunshot detection, license plate reader, cameras, all hooked up to a real-time crime center,” Chief Thompson said.
He said he is proud of the men and women in uniform and all the lives they have helped change and save. Chief Thompson said they need to involve citizens in sharing information about incidents happening in their neighborhood, including casualties. He said communication is key to helping resolve cases.
For more on Spartanburg 2021 crime stats, click here.