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Drug Activity And Violent Crime In Region Has Detroit Connection

Reported: Apr. 24, 2014 4:00 PM EDT
Updated: Apr. 25, 2014 6:23 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (Darrah Wilcox) -- Charleston has seemingly seen an increased of drug activity and violent crime with some sort of connection to Detroit, but it's not just the capitol city.

Huntington also continues to see multiple crime connections to Detroit.

Earlier this month, both the victim and the suspect in a fatal shooting on Monroe Avenue were from Detroit.

In March, the suspect in a fatal stabbing on West 3rd Street was from Detroit. A suspect in a major heroin bust last month even gave a shout out to his hometown after his arrest.

Christopher Harris, also known as "Caesar", told Eyewitness News cameras in court, "I love my family. I love God and that's all [I've] got to say. Now, if that make[s] me look bad on the news, then oh, well. I hold my head high. What up, Detroit?"

In 2013, there were five murders in Huntington. Four of those had some type of Detroit connection. In December, the suspect in a 27th street murder was from Michigan. In November, the victim in a shooting on 26th Street was from Detroit.

There were two murders in July 2013. Each had a Detroit connection.

Huntington police said not every crime they see is drug-related, but an uptick in the heroin trade is an issue.

"Obviously with that, you're going to bring the element in trying to make a quick buck," Lt. John Williams said. "The dangerous part about that is sometimes you get some friction between the locals and the people from out of town, and they look at life with such impunity, that it makes it a dangerous situation. "

Violent offenses in Huntington are actually down more than 23 percent since their peak in 2006 and police are trying lower those statistics even more. Williams said they take a look at "hot spots" for crime, and try to put forth a more concentrated enforcement effort in that area.

Right now, it's West Huntington. Barbara Napier grew up in the area and frequently visits family here.

"We have seen a change. You don't feel as comfortable taking a walk as you used to," she said.

But she said there is a near constant police presence.

"They're always looking around, and I feel confident that they're doing their job," she said.

Neighbor Debra Meadows said she's also on the lookout for suspicious activity.

"You have to look out for each other, and you have to look out for your neighbors," she said.

Williams said residents can call their anonymous crime tip line any time to report suspicious activity at 304-696-4444.



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