When it comes to keeping the city safe, Wheeling Police are on the front lines, and recent statistics show that their job will not be getting easier any time soon.
The numbers reveal what no local resident wants to hear: the Ohio Valley has seen an increase in certain types of crime.
Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger has reviewed the statistics and says Group A offenses–or serious crimes–have risen by nine percent in the first eight months of 2016 as compared to last year. He says he thinks there are a few explanations for the rise, including the number of police officers on the streets and the drug epidemic.
Officers say they see that epidemic leading to other crimes, especially crimes committed in order to fund drug habits.
Staffing is tight right now at Wheeling Police, and Schwertfeger says they are trying to keep as many officers patrolling the streets in crime hot spots as possible.
“Our assaults are up five percent, and then unfortunately larcenies–and I’m sure that can be equated to the drug problem–are at a 21 percent increase. Motor vehicle thefts are up 18 percent, and robberies are up 17 percent–probably also in direct correlation with the drug epidemic,” said Chief Schwertfeger.
Schwertfeger says he believes the public is safe, but one way to make the community safer is to report any crimes you see.
Wheeling Police urge you to always file a report. It does not always end in an arrest, but it helps officers keep tabs on what is going on in the community.