CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Authorities say the crime rate among the homeless population in West Virginia’s capital city is increasing.

Charleston police Lt. Steve Cooper tells WCHS-TV that in recent days more than 15 people have been arrested who live either at a homeless shelter or “the streets of Charleston.”

Cooper says Charleston’s first murder of 2017 resulted from a fight with a machete between two homeless men. In July, police say a homeless man from California set a woman on fire and killed her.

Many of Charleston’s homeless traveled there from out of the county or state. Crossroads men’s shelter director Davis Sneade says that of the 21 men currently at the shelter, more than 75 percent aren’t from Kanawha County.

Charleston has boarded up buildings, increased police patrols and removed benches to combat the problem.

Information from: WCHS-TV,

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.