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      SLED: SC murders up by 20+ percent in 2011

      COLUMBIA (WACH/AP) -- State police say the number of murders in South Carolina went up more than 20 percent in 2011.

      The State Law Enforcement Division said Monday that the number of murders went up 21 percent from 2010 to 2011. SLED says there were 322 murders in South Carolina in 2011, up from 265 the year before.

      "While the decrease in overall violent crime is encouraging, increases in some categories tell us there's still much work to be done," Chief Mark Keel said in a release.

      The numbers are part of SLED's Uniform Crime Report. Keel says South Carolina's 2010 murders were the state's lowest since record keeping began in 1975.

      Overall, Keel says violent crime in South Carolina went down by 1.1 percent in 2011. Property crimes increased by less than 1 percent.

      According to Columbia Police Department Public Affairs overall Crime in the city of Columbia is down and 2010 & 2011 numbers show murders are down 37.5%.

      "We have really turned up the heat within the city," said Public Affairs Officer, Jim Crawford. "With the command staff and the region commanders that if we identify a problem than we address it as soon as practical."

      Crawford said he attributes the success to Chief Scott's leadership tactics.

      "You can't help but be proud I mean it's a city we all want to live in and prosper and flourish in and part of that is dealing with our ability to protect the public and I think Chief Scott has done an outstanding job in his leadership and doing that," said Officer Crawford.

      SLED compiles the data from law enforcement agencies around the state.

      (The Associated Press contributed to this report.)