Since January police in Charleston have investigated three murders within the city limits. But Huntington has gone eight months without any reported murders.
Police can't pinpoint why there's been a drop but they can't deny the role ordinary citizens are playing in getting drugs off the streets.
Time flies 9 months into 2006 and not one "official" murder in Huntington.
We had to purge the WSAZ video vaults to show Huntington police armed and ready. The department says no one reason but it seems there may be a direct connection to the local drug trade getting squeezed!
Lt. Rocky Johnson, HPD CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS comments, "They've changed a little bit. They are still here. Let's not be mistaken and think it's stopped or we'll ever completely stop it. The drug trade has been affected and that may be a reason the homicide rate is as low as it is right now."
This time last year the homicide rate was 10. Now it's one.
Jeffrey Ross was killed after a blow to the head but as of today this isn't a murder case and it's not drug related.
City Hall is again debating a plan for a City wide Neighborhood Watch providing blanket consistency.
Brandi Jones HUNTINGTON CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 5, "Not all neighborhood associations have that crime and safety element where they're meeting with a police officer one on one."
WSAZ has helped capture 74 of Charleston’s most wanted thanks to viewer tips. Charleston, Huntington, it doesn't matter; local police say positive exposure showing case closed fuels community involvement.
Lt. Rocky Johnson says, “They watch TV, they read the newspaper, they're tired of all the crime going on in this area, and they're responding to it by helping us."
Of the 10 homicides on the books last year, in Huntington, four cases are still open. They include the quadruple homicide case that, many say, helped rally "a call to action."