2013 Bluffton Annual Report shows increase in crimes and more of - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

2013 Bluffton Annual Report shows increase in crimes and more officer training

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BLUFFTON, SC (WTOC) -

It's a booming, growing place with a few growing pains. Like crime.

Some categories up are up 100% compared to last year's annual report for the Bluffton Police Department.  

These numbers may be shocking, but they don't exactly paint the whole picture. 

The Bluffton Police Department said part of the issue has to do with a growing population and more officer training for spotting these types of crimes.

People said they still feel safe living in Bluffton.

Calhoun Street was packed today with cars lined down the street for the Farmer's Market.

Liddy Stansbury said it's one of the many things she loves about living in Bluffton.

"The history, all the music, atmosphere, the people, the safety, very safe here," she said.

The Town of Bluffton has about 15,000 residents and some say it's the fastest growing town in Beaufort County.

"I think the best improvement is now we have somewhere to go, we don't have to go to the island to get a drink and listen to music. We've got our own places now and it's wonderful," added Cheryl Wilkes-Berry, another Bluffton local.

But with a growing population comes the potential for more crimes.

According to its 2013 annual report, aggravated assault crimes jumped 83% while fraud increased jumped more than 400%.

Weapons, sex offenses and drug abuse violations all went up more than 100%. The report also shows officers have almost tripled the amount of training they completed from 2012 to 2013.

"With more training, they're getting more observant with certain areas such as narcotics and weapons violations, so I think that's where you're going to see a jump with some of our crime statistics," said Bluffton Police Captain Joseph Manning.  

Despite the numbers, transplants and locals agree, Bluffton is still a great place to live.

"I think they're doing a great job. I have no problems here whatsoever, we feel safe," said retiree Gary Ravenelle.

Emmett Mitchell, who has lived in Bluffton his whole life, added, "This would be a great place to raise a family. It's growing and you got that good Southern style and at the same time, you also have the city feel."

For 2013, the Bluffton Police Department also saw a decrease in the number of robbery, burglary and theft cases that were reported.

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