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Drug Market Intervention sees positive results on Charleston's West Side

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It's been one year since the Charleston Police Department launched its Drug Market Intervention initiative.

The DMI program is a joint effort between the police department, U.S. Attorney's office, and local and community leaders.

Police focused their efforts on the most crime-ridden parts of the West Side, specifically between Second Avenue to Washington Street West, and between Florida Street to Park Avenue. Based on criminal data, this is where most of the felony offenses were happening, according to authorities.

United States Attorney Booth Goodwin has prosecuted 10 individuals since February 2012. They've all received prison time for drug-related offenses and are considered repeat offenders by law enforcement.

There are seven other individuals, considered non-violent offenders, who are completing a two-year rehabilitation program as part of the DMI initiative. Upon completion of the program, and pending no more trouble with the law, authorities will drop their charges.

Captain Kim Mitchell, Charleston Police Department, said violent crimes have dropped when comparing numbers from 2011 and 2012.

"We compared a six month period time this year to a six month period of time when we first did the evaluations and major crimes have dropped," she said.

Adrian Wright grew up on the West Side of Charleston. He owns 'Dem 2 Brothers and a Grill' at Five Corners on Charleston's West Side.

He said he has seen a difference in the area since there's been an increased police presence.

"It's getting better and better every day because of the police control, and riding the bikes and everything. They stop by here and get food. I see a little bit of every body," he said.

He also said there are a lot of positive things happening on this side of town.

"I really think the West Side gets a bad deal for how bad it is but here's crime every where, all over the city. It ain't just the West Side," he said.

And, he's right.

Chief Brent Webster said there have been talks to expand the DMI program into other neighborhood in Charleston.

"We just want to be able to have our neighborhoods as safe as possible and any plan that gets us there, we're proud to look into and we're happy to look into," he said.

Webster said the department is working with the U.S. Attorney's office to see what future changes and improvements can be made to the DMI program in 2013.