7/16/2013 6:39 PM
by Joe Hellriegel
Crime rates are just one piece of information that lead law enforcement in the right direction to stopping crime but it only works when those crimes are reported to police.
"West Virginia traditionally has one of the lowest crime rates in the country and we'd like to keep it that way," Fayette County Sheriff's Office Capt. Jim Sizemore said.
Just how low are the crime rates? Take a look at what Fayette County Sheriffs Office reported in 2011.The crime rate for every 1,000 people is 14.68, which is pretty low. But Captain Sizemore believes these rates can be misleading.
"For instance drug crimes. We receive all kinds of drug info, "John Smith" is selling drugs, however unless we actually open and investigation and have enough information to do a report then it's not reported and not reflected in our crime rates," Sizemore said.
The Fayette County Sheriff's Office reported 24 drug offenses with a 0.79 crime rate in 2011.
"That's no where close to reflecting what the drug problem is in this county. Drugs are a huge huge problem," Sizemore said.
One business owner feels Fayette County's rates reflect the way of life except for drugs.
"Well I feel perfectly safe here, I think Fayette County is a very low crime rate in terms of violent crime but the only high crime issue here is probably drug use. Beyond the traditional marijuana use I think drugs are probably easier to come by here when I was a kid," owner of Musical Grounds Coffee Shop Dr. Joe Dangerfield said.
While Sizemore says the rates can be skewed, they are still helpful.
"The more crime that is reported to us, the better our statistical data the better we are able to seek trends that enables us to see the problem and assign more resources to that area," Sizemore said.