When it comes to violent crime in Raleigh County, it often leads back to drug and gang activity. Anytime you put those two things together… there’s a nexus there.
“A drug nexus or maybe a gang drug nexus… but it’s not just a random act of violence against somebody that’s unsuspecting,” said Sheriff James Canaday. “Sometimes those are victims nonetheless, but I think the intent of the crime is not necessarily for a random victim.”
Violent incidents in Raleigh County highlight what Canaday says is an undercurrent of criminality that ties back to drugs and gang activity.
“A lot of highways and byways intersect here… you got Interstate 64 and 77 and Route 19 all come through Raleigh County,” he says.
The sheriff says they’ve increased their presence with drug interdiction to try to intercept some of that strategically before it comes in and work with the drug task force. He says you can’t get complacent. And with all the gun crime, they also work with the ATF on targeted enforcement on prohibited possessors of firearms.
“What that does is try to cut off some of this gun violence at the source from folks that shouldn’t even be having guns to begin with,” said Canaday. “Get them out of their hands and get them in jail.”
Most of the crime in Raleigh County has that drug link.
“Either somebody’s stealing a catalytic converter to take money and buy drugs or they’re breaking into somebody’s house to get property to sell to buy drugs,” the sheriff said. “So I think anytime that you can have an impact on the drug activity, you’re gonna see an impact peripherally on some of the other crimes.”
One of the best things one can do, according to Canaday, is be vigilant of your surroundings and only engage in whatever makes you feel safe.
“Whether you’re at the mall shopping or whether you’re at the grocery store or maybe you’re just going for a walk,” said the sheriff.
And he says always trust your instincts.
“If you think something doesn’t look right or maybe you shouldn’t go walk down this road or this trail, then don’t. And just air on the side of safety,” said the sheriff.