How safe is the county?

In 2011, Barnwell County's violent crime rate was higher than the state as a whole, according to a report published by the State Law Enforcement Division in March.
The data shows Barnwell had a violent crime rate of 78.7 per 10,000 people. The state's rate was 59.59. Nationally, the violent crime rate was 38.6 per 10,000 people. Statewide, violent crime was down 28.6 percent from 2002.
There were 176 violent crimes reported in Barnwell County, with a population around 22,000, in 2011.
Murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault were the types of crime used when determining the rates. There was one murder in the county in 2011.
Barnwell County Sheriff's Office reported the highest number of violent crimes, including 94 aggravated assaults. The Barnwell Police Department reported the most robberies: 18. And there were four rape cases reported in the county.
From 2010 to 2011, the number of reported burglaries and larcenies increased for all four of the counties law enforcement agencies. The Barnwell Police Department saw the highest number with 403 combined burglaries and larcenies in 2011.
And the problem is getting worse.
At an April Barnwell City Council meeting, Police Chief Todd Gantt said crime in the city has been steadily increasing since 1998. He said the number of burglaries and larcenies is up 33 percent from the same time last year.
Gantt blamed the problem on a lack of officers, caused by a shrinking city budget, and a court system that gives convicted criminals probation instead of jail time.
It's a "revolving door," he said at the time about solicitors and judges putting people back on the street.
View the complete report at www.sled.sc.gov.