Crime

Charleston Police's Transit Mall substation officially in operation

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) - Charleston's Chief of Police, Steve Cooper, said Thursday, "The Transit is a hub for criminal activity."

That was then, he said, but today marks a new day for the downtown area.  Last year alone, officers with the Charleston Police Department fielded 488 calls to the Slack Street Plaza.

After several years of planning and talk, the department is setting up shop.

We spoke with on man hopping off of a bus.  He said, "The law enforcement presence, that always makes a big difference."

The substation is the new home of the hybrid patrols and six K9 officers.  It's in a unique location. Around four years ago, this building was the Middle East Mart.  We were there as it was raided by police.  The owners were convicted for what police officers said was a fencing operation. 

Stolen items, usually from the Charleston Town Center, were being re-sold inside of the store.

"This building offered a haven for that type of criminal activity," Cooper said.  "We were able to gain possession of the building.  So, it went from a real negative in this part of town, to what I think is going to be a very positive geographical location.  It will be beneficial for the whole midtown area."

Police said they're hoping that the addition of the substation is going to cut down crime in the Slack Street Plaza area, but just feet down a walkway from the substation is the Charleston Town Center. 

It's a place that has definitely seen it's fair share of crime lately.

In early January, we told you about a man who said he went to use the restroom at the mall.  Inside, he saw loose needles, what appeared to be blood, and other drug paraphernalia.  That prompted an investigation by Charleston Police. 

Beginning immediately, CPD is adding the mall to their daily beat.  Officers said having the K9 units inside and around the substation is going to catch drug dealers and users in the city so drug crimes like that one can be deterred.

"I think it'll deal with some of the homeless people that's like living in Charleston, that sleep in here.  I think that's why this is here," said Jonathan Kincaid, a Charleston resident. 

He's right- police said that is another reason they moved in.  The transient criminals we've been telling you about who have made the capitol city their home, police will now be able to respond quicker when complainants call 911.

As always, Cooper said, if you see something, say something.  In the meantime, moving forward, you're about to see more officers downtown.

 


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