Authorities Look for Solutions to Misdemeanor Crime Problem Costing Tax Payers

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Authorities say misdemeanor crime has been costing the tax payers of Wheeling a lot of money and it’s been going on for decades. 

Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger says they’ve been arresting the same people for misdemeanor crimes too often and it’s something that needs to be dealt with.

Ohio County Prosecutor Scott Smith says it’s a difficult and complicated problem. He says they’ve been dealing with this issue on a daily basis for several years.

“Many times the cases that they’re involved with, we don’t have the witnesses that can come to court or are willing to come to court, and we also have to make sure that we have enough money in the budget so that we can incarcerate violent people,” he said.

Ohio County Magistrate Joe Roxby says there are a number of other solutions, but it depends on each person.

“You can make it uncomfortable in lots of ways. You can cost them money, you can have them sit in jail, you can do things like that,” Roxby said. “Ultimately, the desire to do that has to come from within, not from without. Hopefully we can lead them to that one way or the other.”

Chief Schwertfeger also mentioned sometimes the same person is arrested four or five times over a three month period and they will be looking into working with other departments and agencies to work more toward solving this problem. 

Smith added they have been able to decrease the cost of incarceration pretty substantially over the last few years by evaluating and moving cases through more quickly. 

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