This time last year, police had investigated 12 homicides. 2012 ended with 32.
Though it’s difficult to pin increases and decreases in homicides on certain factors, Sgt. Billy Leisey said this year’s drop could have to do with an increase in overall police presence.
The new administration of Sheriff Richard Roundtree reorganized the road patrol to put more officers on the streets, and out-of-town deputies are brought in every week to assist in Operation Thunder.
The three-month operation, which began in mid-February, focuses on driving offenses, but police said the effect might have been larger than they imagined.
“Just because there is so much police presence, that might have something to do with it,” Leisey said. “You bring that many police in, and you’re bound to see (an effect).”
This year’s only homicide occurred about 2:30 a.m. Jan. 1 when Edward Yancey, 21, was fatally shot at Club Fiesco, 2925 Peach Orchard Road.
The case was solved two days later when police arrested Deontre Alvez Hubert, 18, on charges of murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
Police said that the suspect knew the victim but that Yancey wasn’t the intended target when Hubert fired into the club from the parking lot. The investigation revealed that Hubert fired at a person standing nearby.
“We’ve got to attribute (the drop in homicides) to the guys that are out there every day,” Leisey said of the deputies.
Aiken Public Safey’s only homicide of the year also just barely occurred in 2013.
Joseph Brown, 22, of Aiken, was shot on Fairfield Street the evening of Dec. 31, 2012, but he did not die until 4 a.m. Jan. 1. Jamar Nicholas White, 28, of Aiken, was charged with murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime.
Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton said it’s the only homicide that has occurred in Aiken County this year.
Columbia County has not had a homicide this year.