AP NEWS

Domestic violence, crime scenes, narcotics discussed at Aiken Citizen’s Academy

October 21, 2018

Citizen’s Academy covered narcotics, domestic violence, and crime scene investigations on Thursday night.

Aiken Department of Public Safety officers who work narcotics cases discussed undercover casework the department had done to identify drug dealers and some of the more extreme drug busts they have made.

Some of the properties around Aiken County where dealers develop their drugs were rigged with booby traps, such as shotguns connected to trip wires and large pits dug into the ground disguised with leaves and branches.

South Carolina is consistently top-ranked when it comes to domestic violence. According to the Violence Policy Center, the state was fifth in the nation for homicide rate per 100,000 females at the last measure, which was in 2015.

There have been no deaths from domestic-violence related incidents in Aiken since 2016, but officers said the department has had some extremely close calls.

One of the biggest problems with domestic violence is getting the victims, male or female, to look past their attachment to their abuser so they will press charges.

Officers said it may sound easy to leave abusive situations, but for abusers, it is all about control. Many victims systematically have their sense of self-worth crushed and are isolated from friends and family. It is common for abusers to threaten the lives of their victim’s family in order to assure compliance.

Other victims are unable to break out of the mental conditioning they have gone through at the hands of their abusers, often times for years. Others are murdered by their abusers when they try to leave or move on.

Domestic violence laws can contain loopholes. For example, in order for an assault to be considered domestic violence, it has to occur between household members, according to South Carolina law.

In an effort to break the cycle, penalties for domestic violence are much stricter for abusers that commit crimes in front of children.

Cases involving strangulation, even if the victim survived, are considered more serious because the victim is 750 percent more likely to die during an assault if strangulation is involved, according to the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention.

For local resources on domestic violence prevention, visit cumbeecenter.org.

ADPS Detective Bill Royster lectured on how officials break down crime scenes and reconstruct murders from them. He discussed several past cases of homicide and burglary in Aiken to give examples.

During the lecture, Royster discussed finger printing, autopsy, crime scene forensics, and methods of collecting evidence.

Finger prints are even more valuable than DNA, according to Royster. DNA can be shared among individuals, but even identical twins don’t have the same fingerprints.

Next week, topics at Citizen’s Academy will include patrol functions, a K-9 demo, and driving demonstrations.