Wheeling Police Department’s 2021 crime stats show notable improvements

WHEELING W.Va. – (WTRF) A lot can happen in a year. At the end of 2021, the Wheeling Police Department released its annual crime statistics.

These crime statistics are a key resource for the police department.

Data collection covers categories such as assault, burglary, vandalism, child pornography and more.

Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger said he saw improvement in several areas and by analyzing those statistics he could make changes for the following year.

In “group A” offenses, which are described as more serious crimes, there was a 5% decrease in crimes of assault, burglary, theft and sex crimes.

It also validates something I’ve always believed in, which is smart directed policing and geo-policing.

The Workplace Crime Analyst and some members of the leadership team understand these concepts and apply the resources we have in these particular areas.

Chief Shawn Schwertfeger, Wheeling Police Department

He says that in “group B” offences, which are described as less serious crimes, they have increased by around 10% and he is certain that this increase is due to more proactive policing.

The Chief says they have seen a change in a problem that continues to plague our region.

For the first time in five years, our total number of overdoses has gone down and it has gone up in the five years to this year. So I’m thrilled about that.

Chief Shawn Schwertfeger, Wheeling Police Department

He says there are a few factors that impact this specific stat, namely death.

We have a long list of drug addicts in the city who have repeatedly overdosed, up to ten times in the last calendar year.

Several of them have perished this year, so when you take several people who die from overdoses, especially repeat overdoses, that’s going to bring your number down a bit.

Chief Shawn Schwertfeger, Wheeling Police Department

Another area that has seen an increase is child pornography, rising from 11 cases to 25.

Chief Shawn Schwertfeger says that, like many employers, this year they have struggled with staffing issues due to the pandemic and hiring delays.

However, he says his team worked extremely hard over the past year and will continue to ensure Wheeling remains a safe area to live in in 2022 as well.