UPDATE: Transit Crime Hurting Businesses; Police Crack Down

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 4/2/14 @ 10:54 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Every day, Toshiaki Yoshioka works hard, trying to keep his business open. However, every day, he's facing an uphill battle: crime.

"Sometimes I call 911," said Yoshioka, owner of Kaifu Japanese Cuisine.

Less than a block from the Charleston Transit Mall, Kaifu sits on a strip many people stray away from. However, police are hoping to change that.

"People have the right to walk through here without being harassed or molested," Charleston Police Lt. Shawn Williams said, "and we believe in that and the mayor believes in that."

On Wednesday, Charleston Police arrested nine people on various crimes at the Transit Mall, bringing the total in just a week and half to well over 20.

"That's good, that's good," Yoshioka said. "That will help us a lot."

Those we spoke with said it's no surprise -- many with their own stories to swap.

"I heard a gun being cocked and I looked over and these guys were getting in an argument, and the other guys said, 'You don't want to do that, don't do that,' " said Scott Hawkins, who walks through the Transit Mall daily.

The feeling of handcuffs isn't the first time for some.

"What are you doing? I let you go. I could have sent you to jail," one judge said loudly.

However, CPD says they'll find no mercy with police, because this is the new normal.

"This is what the residents are going to see and until they get the message that we're not going to tolerate it, we're not going to stop," Williams said.

ORIGINAL STORY 4/2/14 @ 6:59 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Nine people were arrested Tuesday afternoon during a roundup by Charleston Police at the Transit Mall.

The arrests were made in in just a matter of minutes.

Officers were looking for people using or dealing drugs. They also arrested several people on outstanding warrants.

Charleston Police Lt. Shawn Williams said they they're sending the message that they're cracking down on drug abuse citywide.

"It doesn't matter if you are on the east side, the west side, the south," Williams said. If you are creating a problem or issue, we are going to get you off the streets."

Those arrested were taken straight to Magistrate Court.

This is the second roundup of its kind at the Transit Mall, a known trouble spot in downtown Charleston in the last two weeks.

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