Charleston Police notice drop in murders - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Charleston Police notice drop in murders

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Charleston Police have responded to one murder this year in 2013, one of the lowest rates they've seen within city limits in almost two decades.

Statistics provided by the Charleston Police Department indicate the number of murders has significantly dropped: In 2012, police responded to six murders; the year before that, five. Twelve murders were reported in 2010.

In February 2013, tragedy befell Red Oak Street in Charleston. Patrick Price shot and killed Michael Cassell before turning the gun on himself, according to investigators.

Lt. Steve Cooper with the Charleston Police called this incident "tragic", and one of few "random" murders the station has investigated. Officers and family members have said allegations of child abuse prompted the outburst.

Revenge possibly motivated Price to murder Cassel. Detectives told 13 News Cassel had reported Price to police for abusing his own daughter. At the time of the shooting, police had been investigating the child abuse case.

"The victim was an innocent person," Cooper said.

Police attribute several factors to this year's low-murder rate. Officers are making more foot patrols; that means more face-to-face contact with the community. Leaders have also touted the Drug Market Intervention (DMI) initiative. The program aims to prosecute violent drug offenders but rehabilitate the non-violent ones.

The DMI program is a joint effort between the police department, U.S. Attorney's office, and local and community leaders, established in 2012. The initiative focuses on stemming crime on Charleston's West Side.

The number of stabbings, shootings, and other crime-related incidents during 2013 were not available Thursday. Charleston Police typically process the data after Jan. 1 of the next year.