PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Huntington West Virginia has had 14 homicides already this year, which is an increase from the 12 it saw last year. The 12 in 2016 were the most since 1985. Eight of the 14 homicides were drug related and three had to do with domestic violence. Nine came after July 1st.
However, numbers in the Mid-Ohio Valley are not as alarming. Wood County Sheriff clarifies what is considered a homicide, "In a homicide, someone knowingly took the life of another person. So that can be anywhere from poisoning to shooting to stabbing to chocking, any way you can beat someone to death, whatever, those are all ways of doing it."
Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin says homicide numbers are average for the last eight years.
In 2017, they have dealt with three homicides, where all cases were closed with arrests. In 2016, there were four.
In each of the cases this year, the victim knew the suspect.
But Chief Martin says he can see how drug problems lead to this violence. He says, "Drugs typically creates violence and we're not immune to that. But we try to be as aggressive as we can with specific targets that are bringing drugs into Parkersburg and Wood County as a whole. Law enforcement as a whole here locally has done a pretty good job of putting forth efforts to squash any known threats or potential threats that can bring along with drugs that brings violence along with it."
Stephens says the Sheriff's Office has dealt with four homicides this year. It’s believed that number is an increase from last year. Stephens says, “I think we're very fortunate that we only had four but four is four too many very obviously. And I hate to predict the future but I think it's going to get worse before it gets better."