Murder Rates Drop In Charleston

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Statistics are showing an all time low for murders in Charleston.

Angela Gould has lived in Charleston for seven years. She and her daughter often walk downtown.

"We live downtown and we are always happy to raise our kids here and we spend a lot of time down here and I've never had any problems or issues," Gould said.

Now, she has another reason to feel safe. So far in 2013, murder rates in Charleston are at an all time low.

"We've only had one actual homicide. We've beefed up enforcement and presence in a lot of areas," Charleston Police Lt. Steve Cooper said.

Police say the reason for the drop is because years of work has led up to now.

"A lot of violent criminals from past homicides or past serious incidents that involve gun violence are locked up," Lieutenant Cooper said. "When we know there's more likelihood of a violent crime taking place, we will give a little more specific interest and targeting to that area."

One of the target areas is the Transit Mall. It's a place where many young professionals often walk.

"I work downtown in two different locations and I walk by myself," says Catelin, a young professional.

Despite the dramatic decline in murders, some say it's not the statistics, but the personal situations determining their level of safety in the city.

"If I had a couple of friends who were harmed or had something stolen from them, or anything like that, I'd probably feel more concerned," Gould said.

"There's a difference between feeling safe and being smart about it," Catelin adds.

Police say they've been working more community patrols lately as well to get feedback from people living in higher crime rate areas. They say they're always accepting tips from people to keep their neighborhood safe.

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