WHEELING W.Va. – (WTRF) A lot can happen in a year. With the wrap of 2021 the Wheeling Police Department released its annual crime statistics.   

These crime statistics are a key resource for the Police Department.  

The collection of data covers categories such as assaults, burglary, vandalism, child pornography and more.

Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger says they saw improvement in several areas and by analyzing these stats they can make modifications for the following year.   

In “Group A” offenses, which are described as more serious crimes, there was a 5% decrease in crimes of assault, burglary, theft and sexual related crimes.   

It also validates something I’ve always believed in and that’s intelligent led policing and geography policing.

The crime analyst at work and certain members of the leadership team understanding those concepts and applying resources that we do have in these particular areas.

Chief Shawn Schwertfeger, Wheeling Police Department

He says in “Group B” offenses, which are described as less serious crimes they were up roughly 10% and he’s certain that increase is due to more proactive policing.

The chief says they have seen a change in a problem that continues to plague our region. 

For the first time in five years our total number of overdoses has reduced and that’s been on a five-year uptick until this year. So, I’m ecstatic about that.

Chief Shawn Schwertfeger, Wheeling Police Department

He says there are a few factors that impact this specific statistic one being death.

We do have a laundry list of drug addicted individuals in the city that repeatedly overdose, as many as ten times this past calendar year.

Several of them have perished this year so when you take several individuals who are dying from overdoses, particularly repeated overdoses, it’s going to cause your numbers to drop a little bit. 

Chief Shawn Schwertfeger, Wheeling Police Department

One other area that saw a hike was child pornography going from 11 cases to 25. 

Chief Shawn Schwertfeger says, like many employers, this year they’ve struggled with staffing issues due to pandemic and hiring delays.

However, he says his team worked extremely hard last year and will continue to make sure Wheeling remains a safe area to live in 2022 as well.