Charleston Police Chief says shootings in city are down

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The chief of the Charleston Police Department’s detective bureau says although it would seem there are a lot of shootings and stabbings in the city, it’s actually not nearly at the level it once was.

A shooting last week in broad daylight in the parking garage of the Charleston Town Center drew a lot of attention. However, Steve Cooper, with the city police says in reality, the number of shootings in the city anymore are way down.

“In 2004 on the west side alone there were maybe 140 malicious woundings and a lot were shootings and some stabbings,” Coopers said. “In 2014 those were down to maybe 30 to 50 on the west side.”

Cooper said the different in then and now has been technology. Instead of dealing with pagers and congregating around pay phones, drug dealers are now communicating with customers using social media and smart phones.

“There may not be less drugs, but the mechanism of drug dealing has changed,” he said. “There’s not 30 drug dealers standing on a street corner on Florida Street where turf wars would start and shots would ring out. There’s just a lot less of that now.”

While the incidence may have drastically decreased, Cooper said the attention to the shootings which do happen has increased.

“It’s always shocking to the conscience when there’s a shooting and it gets media coverage for days,”he said. “You feel like there’s a lot of shootings or they are on the rise, but actually they are way down.”