CHARLESTON W.Va. — On the steps of the Robert C. Byrd United States Courthouse in Charleston on Tuesday, federal, state and local leaders and law enforcement came together to announce a project at aiming to continue the downward trend of violent crimes in Charleston.
United States Attorney Mike Stuart announced ‘Project Charleston,’ an additional element of the Project Safe Neighborhoods, an effort by the Attorney General’s office and U.S. government in decreasing violent crime in neighborhoods.
“We’re going to move forward the federal, state and local partnership to make it absolutely clear the idea of violent crime, drugs run rampant and our cities not being safe is something we are not going to tolerant any longer,” Stuart said.
“Our goal is that little boys and girls and families can walk those streets safely regardless the time of day. We are going to work as hard as we can to make sure violent criminal elements that cause chaos, despair and destruction in our communities are removed from those communities.”
Stuart made the announcement alongside Charleston mayor Danny Jones, Charleston Police Chief Steve Cooper, Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Chuck Miller, Assistant Special Agent in Charges Nicholas Boshears, Assistant Special Agent in Charge David Gourley of the DEA, Resident Agent in Charge Adam Black of the ATF, and other law enforcement officials.
“One of the most important messages that we can put forward is partnership,” Stuart said. “Federal, state and local partnership working in unison, together with a common goal.”
“We couldn’t have a tighter partnership with the (Kanawha) county prosecutor’s office. We are working hand-in-hand together to make sure the harshest charges where we can bring those charges, we are bringing them. Whether it’s the federal or the state level.”
Charleston’s west side was the focus of the announcement. Stuart noted that “Project Charleston” will mirror the efforts of “Project Huntington”, in which he says the numbers of violent activity and crime have gone down in Huntington as part of the result of the project.
Stuart added that 10 new federal prosecutors are moving to U.S. attorney’s office in Charleston with many focusing on Charleston and its violent crime on the west side.
Cooper spoke at the press conference and noted that the 10 new police officers added last year to the department have allowed them to allocate more resources to certain areas of the city with heavy crime. More officers are on bicycles, foot patrol and under cover in certain areas to up the efforts.
“Violent crime is down,” Cooper said. “Property crime is down. Our officers are working very hard and I couldn’t be prouder of our department. But the assistance that is coming from Project Charleston is going to be amazing.”
“I assure the citizens of Charleston that we are working 24 hours a day and will continue to work 24 hours a day to keep the momentum going for the falling crime rates.”