CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — There have been 13 homicide investigations in Charleston so far in 2022. 11 of those are considered murder cases. That puts the city on pace for one of the deadliest in years.

Some Charleston residents say they want to see an even bigger police presence in their neighborhoods.

Police Chief Tyke Hunt says the lines of communication with the city residents are vital to solving crimes quickly.

“We have had a higher number of murders and homicides this year than we typically do,” Hunt said.

Some Charleston residents say it has shaken their sense of safety.

“I used to be able to walk around town and be happy and be satisfied,” said Ashley Boggess. “Now I can’t even do that, I’m too worried about what is going to happen.”

Hunt said while murders are up crime, in general, is down.

“As a whole person crimes are down. Robberies, sexual assaults and rapes and general assaults are trending lower on the projection than they were last year and we know last year was a near record low,” Hunt said.

He said generally the murders are not random acts and are specific to the people involved.

“Unfortunately we can’t prevent the homicides that are occurring because they are crimes of passion,” Hunt said. “But we do a very good job of interacting with the community and getting the information we need to solve them.” He says their rate of solving the cases is well above the national average.

Some city residents said they’d like to see even more police in their neighborhoods.

“There’s crime everywhere, we know that. It is a little more prevalent here on the West Side,” said Kevin Fluker, who has lived in the area for about 6 years. “Anyone who is out here trying to do anything that is unlawful, if they see police presense they are probably going to think twice. I think that is probably the biggest thing they could do to help curtail some of the criminal activity that has been happening here lately.”

Police Chief Hunt said he wants the community to put their trust in his department.

“Have faith in the police department that we are going to give you the best we’ve got, work hard for you and do our best to solve crimes so we can take the bad folks off your streets,” he said.

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