Despite Drop in Overall Crime Rate, Sex Offenses on the Upswing - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Despite Drop in Overall Crime Rate, Sex Offenses on the Upswing

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Wheeling, W.Va. -

The City of Wheeling's annual crime statistics are out for 2012 and they reveal that the past year saw a dip in some crimes and an upswing in others.

They divided crimes into Group A and B, Group A being the more serious ones like murder, robbery and forcible sex, while Group B consisted of crimes like DUI, vagrancy and disorderly conduct. For the most part, they say, Group A, the serious crimes, is down.

"The Group A offenses were down nearly eight percent, the group B offenses were up by nine percent," said Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger.

Overall that made for a "level" crime rate from the year before, but there is one type of Group A crime that did not go down and instead rose.

"Forcible sex offense is one category we noticed a pretty significant up tick," Schwertfeger said.

The chief believes it may be that more victims are coming forward and more crimes are being discovered.

"I can speculate that it's probably improved education, increased reporting, possibly some of the work that's being done in Internet crimes against children," he said.

He says they received almost 27,000 calls for service in 2012, which is 1,300 more than the previous year.

"I think that Wheeling's obviously the largest municipality in the Northern Panhandle, it's certainly with West Virginia Route 2, Ohio Route 7, and then of course with Interstate 70 running through is sort of the hub of the Northern Panhandle so Wheeling has a much larger feel than its 30,000 residents," said Schwertfeger.

The chief says weapons offenses and drug offenses are also up from the year before.