ALTHOUGH just plain luck certainly plays a role, the fact that there has been only one murder in the city of Charleston so far this year as the end of 2013 approaches speaks well for the good works of the city police department and others involved in improving the city.
As the Daily Mail's Ashley Craig reported on Thursday, the murder rate is the city's lowest in at least 20 years.
While one murder is still one too many, it certainly is a better rate than 2012, with 10 city murders, 2011 with five, 2010 with 11 and 2009 with six.
"Murder is a very difficult crime to predict or deter," Lt. Steve Cooper, chief of detectives, told Craig.
But the city police and others seeking to improve the city are working to deter murders, reduce the overall crime rate and improve education and economic opportunities for youth.
Both Lt. Cooper and Police Chief Brent Webster credit part of the murder rate reduction to a partnership between the city police and the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Drug Market Intervention initiative.
The initiative targets problem individuals in the city, either for drugs or violence, and then splits them into two groups: the A-listers, typically the more violent offenders who are prosecuted in federal court, and the B-listers, the lower-level offenders who are given a one-time chance to turn their lives around.
In addition, the police department's proactive approach to crime has helped. Patrol officers are spending as much time as they can walking beats in their patrol area.
"That helps in so many ways," Webster said. "It makes the community feel better. We're seen, so there's visibility, and it's possibly a deterrent because they see us out there. It just creates a community policing feeling."
Community involvement by concerned citizens also is playing a role. A couple of examples are the West Side Revitalization and Transformation Initiative and West Side Main Street, where residents and business owners are taking it upon themselves to revitalize their area of the city through education and economic opportunity.
"There's a lot of good things going on in the city," Chief Webster said of the community involvement.
So true. Here's hoping the low murder rate is the start of a long-time Charleston trend.