7/18/2013 6:29 PM
BECKLEY - Raleigh County's crime rates are a little higher than surrounding counties, possibly because there is a larger population, which isn't unusual. Prosecuting Attorney Kristen Keller explains how these rates can relate to one another.
"I certainly have noticed over the several years probably the most significant increase from our experience has been robberies," Keller said.
Take a look at Raleigh County's crime rates in 2011 in these categories. Burglary/breaking and entering, 392 offenses. Destruction/damage/vandalism of property, 645 offenses. And drug narcotics violations, 357 offenses as reported by the Beckley Police Department.
"It used to be a very rare event in the county and now it's become an all too common event as you well know," Keller said.
These are three of the major crimes that play a large role in the 100.98 crime rate. But are these crimes related to the drug problem?
"Many times you'll hear people say that it's the pill, narcotic pill abuse causing crime. We can't really prove that. We don't know how many of the folks that are committing crimes would be criminals anyway. Whether or not they were addicted," Keller said.
Between the Beckley Police Department, West Virginia State Police, and the Raleigh County Sheriff's Office, there are 578 offense of drug crimes. But Keller says it's an all too common story to blame the crime on drugs.
"Certainly at least the people who get caught, we frequently hear them say, 'If not for the drugs I would not have done this,' but again it's a chicken and egg question. Did they become addicts because they were already irresponsible, and would they have committed some other crime if not fueled by narcotics? We just don't know."