Police Presence Cutting Crime at Charleston Transit Mall

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- During the past month, we've shown you more than 40 arrests made at the Transit Mall in downtown Charleston.

It's all part of a crackdown on crime there and people said it's having a positive effect.

Charleston Police have made dozens of arrests in the Transit Mall and people who come through frequently said they've noticed a difference.

Katherine Shaver walks through the Transit Mall all the time.

"Getting off work, walking around downtown, meeting friends," said Shaver.

She said it's a popular shortcut for her and her friends.

"We want to get straight to Capitol Street," said Shaver.

But, she said sometimes things can get a little out of hand there.

"I see things that make me uncomfortable."

That's why Charleston Police said they've been cracking down on crime there.

Officers have made more than 40 arrests in the past few weeks for offenses like public intoxication and disorderly conduct.

The latest sting only rounded up four people, but police said fewer arrests and an empty Transit Mall shows their efforts are working.

"I know some of the people that hang over here, they're not here, so evidently the law been around," said Steven Gide, a frequent bus rider.

Gide knows the area all too well. He depends on bus service to get around.

"People go to drinking, get carried away, they get into fights, you know, and there's children running around that don't need to be in the middle of this stuff," said Gide.

He hopes the work will continue, to not only make him feel safer, but others who need to ride the bus too.

"Who wants to be up here when you've got stuff going on like that," said Gide.

Gide is not alone. Police said they've already gotten a lot of positive feedback from others who also want to see the work continue.

Charleston Police said the weather can fuel the problems, but they'll continue sting operations throughout the summer to try to cut down on crime.

Some business owners in the area said they are concerned about the efforts.

NewsChannel 3 talked to one man, who didn't want to speak on-camera.

He said the stings are also driving away honest customers who don't want to get caught up in the middle of it all.

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