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A look back at local crime patterns in 2020 and 2021

WTAP News @ 11
Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 9:00 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 15, 2022 at 6:37 PM EST
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - 2020 and 2021 have been eventful years but here’s a look past the headlines when it comes to local crimes.

In Washington County, the most prevalent crimes of 2021 were theft, domestic violence, DUI’s, and contraband being brought into jail.

There were 107 domestic violence crimes, 16 DUI’s, and 19 instances of drugs being smuggled into the jail.

This is according to Chief Deputy Mark Warden, who said the only notable shift in 2020 to 2021 crime rate was theft.

“We actually saw a decrease in 2021 - somewhat dramatic decrease from 2020 to 2021…but it’s still the biggest portion of what we do,” he said.

Warden believes this is thanks to law enforcement as well as the community protecting themselves more proactively.

In Wood County, the most prevalent crimes of the past two years have been drug possession, property crimes, and domestic battery, according to Sheriff Rick Woodyard.

Both officials point to drugs having a trickle down effect on other crimes.

Woodyard explained, “Drugs and the use of drugs can be attributed to a lot of our thefts. People need money to buy the drugs so they find themselves resorting to breaking into houses or stealing people’s property and fencing them or selling them on Craigslist.”

And the impact goes far beyond theft. Warden pointed to prostitution and scams as other ripple effects.

“I can tell you right now and speaking to our task force agents that meth is the predominant drug on the streets…,” Warden added.

Looking forward to 2022, both Warden and Woodyard hope to add more manpower to their staff. Many local departments say recruitment has become more challenging in recent years.

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