The City of North Charleston was ranked the tenth most dangerous city in America in 2007 according to CQ Press. The new numbers for 2008 were released and although they are still high on the list North Charleston’s ranking went down to 22. North Charleston Police Chief Jon Zumalt, like other law enforcement officials, says the report is faulty methodology and he’s sticking to his own statistics.
“I don’t need some knucklehead out of Kansas City to tell me whether crime is coming up or crime is coming down in North Charleston. But, here on the ground we are actually living it, we’re seeing a dramatic change in the amount of violence and the amount of crime in our city,” says Zumalt.
Last year, Zumalt says he saw a significant decrease in crime and violence, and the way it looks, it’s getting better every year.
“What counts is whether we see on the violent-crime statistics that we are reducing crime. Last year we had one of the largest drops for a city our size or larger in the nation and we’ll have something even greater than that this year. So we know based on our reporting through the FBI that violence is dropping dramatically in our city,” says Zumalt.
Zumalt says one reason for the decrease in crime is his department’s increased relationship-building and cooperation with community leaders. He says it starts at the neighborhood level.
“We get a little bit of concern because when we let’s say after a shooting, I’ll flood that area for a good period of time and zero tolerance on any kind of poor behavior. Thing is what we ask our officers, when they make those pedestrians car stops, pedestrian stops, we have a a tell people why we’re there: ‘we just had a shooting a few days ago, we’re in this neighborhood to reduce violence and we need your help’,” says Zumalt.
Zumalt says through that approach he is starting to win trust of area citizens, which brings down crime.