Neighbors worry crime is on the rise in Dunbar, WV - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Neighbors worry crime is on the rise in Dunbar, WV

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Multiple shootings in the past week, the most recent between Dunbar and Institute, has some neighbors on edge.  Dunbar resident, Timothy Channell, says with last night's shooting not far away, it hits close to home and something needs to be done.

What can be done?  Dunbar Police Chief Jess Bailes took command in January.  He explains the practical limitations of law enforcement saying, "we cant be in everyone's homes and everyone's backyards to mediate their arguments and when people's tempers flare and they do things out of, for lack of a better word, the heat of passion, it's hard for law enforcement to prevent that".

Chief Bailes says to prevent crime you have to diminish the means, motive, and opportunity because no criminal can commit a crime without the means, motive, and opportunity to do so.  Unfortunately, Bailes says officers can only control the opportunity to commit crime.

Chief Bailes monitors the region's growing drug problem. His department seized $10,000 worth of drugs just last month.  He says drugs are the underlying cause of probably about 80% of crimes in our communities and that's why combating drugs is his number one priority.

Some Dunbar residents have had enough and say the violence is too close to home.  Channell says Dunbar police don't do enough.  He wants to see more officers patrolling at night.  He also says drugs aren't the issue.  He believes the problem is there's nothing to do around here and people get bored.

Neighbors are increasingly worried crime surrounding their borders is quickly creeping in.  Bailes explains that the drug problem is often just displaced.  In other words, when law enforcement begins to patrol an area heavily, drug dealers tend to just find somewhere else to go.  That's why teaming up with other law enforcement agencies and community resources is vital to putting an end to the actual drug problem.

Two new initiatives beginning this summer in Dunbar include reassigning two officers to full time street crime patrol and a new one week summer camp for kids.