West Virginia Has One of the ‘FBI’s Most Dangerous Cities’

West Virginia, like many states, grapples with crime rates that vary across its counties. Analyzing crime data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program provides insights into the state’s safety landscape. In 2019, West Virginia reported a total of 28,376 property crime index offenses. Notably, Kanawha County stands out with 380 violent crimes reported, including 10 murders and 31 rapes. This data underscores the prevalence of crime in certain areas within the state.

Crime Statistics by County

Metropolitan Counties: Kanawha County leads in violent crimes, followed by Monongalia with 136 offenses and Jefferson with 40.

Nonmetropolitan Counties: Logan County reported 131 violent crimes, while Nicholas and Mercer Counties had 120 and 83 offenses respectively.

Trends and Analysis

Examining trends over time reveals fluctuations in crime rates. The state saw a decline in its crime rate from 2017 to 2018, with a decrease from 361.25 to 289.95 per 100,000 population. However, specific crimes like motor vehicle theft showed an increase during the pandemic period. This highlights the dynamic nature of criminal activities influenced by various factors.

West Virginia’s Approach to Reporting

West Virginia has been proactive in adopting the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) to enhance data collection and reporting accuracy. This system provides detailed crime data crucial for policymakers and law enforcement agencies to make informed decisions.

What Are the Most Common Types of Crime in West Virginia?

The most common types of crime in West Virginia include property crimes and violent crimes. Here are the key findings based on the provided search results:

Property Crimes

Larceny: Larceny is the most common property crime in West Virginia, with a rate of 1,120 reported incidents per 100,000 residents.

Burglary: In 2019, there were 5,891 reported burglaries in West Virginia, translating to 329 incidents per 100,000 state residents.

Motor Vehicle Theft: West Virginia had a rate of 135 motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 residents in 2019, which was lower than the national rate.

Violent Crimes

Aggravated Assault: Aggravated assault is the most prevalent violent crime in West Virginia, accounting for 74% of all reported incidents.

Robbery: Robbery is the second most common type of violent crime in the state, with 378 reported incidents in 2019.

Rape: There were 754 reported rapes in West Virginia in 2019, with a rate of 42.1 incidents per 100,000 residents.

Murder: In 2019, there were 78 murders reported in West Virginia, resulting in a murder rate of 4.4 per 100,000 residents.

Comparison to National Averages

Property crimes accounted for 83% of all crimes reported in West Virginia in 2019, slightly lower than the national average of 85%.

Violent crimes made up 17% of total crimes in West Virginia, compared to 15% nationwide.

These statistics shed light on the prevalent types of crimes occurring in West Virginia and emphasize the importance of addressing both property and violent crimes to enhance public safety within the state.

What is the Crime Rate Trend in West Virginia Over the Past Decade

The crime rate trend in West Virginia over the past decade has shown fluctuations, with varying rates of violent and property crimes. Here is a summary based on the provided search results:

Historical Trend: West Virginia’s crime rate was the lowest in the nation in 1971 but increased to 2,547.2 crimes per 100,000 people by 1998. After a peak in 2010, the rate decreased significantly to 2,394 crimes per 100,000 people in 2013.

Recent Trends: Violent crime rates in West Virginia have shown fluctuations. Between 2014 and 2016, violent crime rates increased by 14.6%, but then dropped by 17.3% from 2016 to 2018. However, there was a slight increase of 5.6% in 2019, bringing the state back to nearly the same violent crime rate as in 2014.

Property Crime Trends: Property crime rates have generally decreased in West Virginia since 2014, except for a slight increase in 2019. Overall property crimes reported decreased by 18% from 2014 to 2019.

City-Specific Trends: Cities like Huntington and Charleston have seen declines in various categories of violent and property crimes due to new strategies implemented by law enforcement agencies.


In conclusion, while West Virginia faces challenges related to crime rates, detailed data analysis is essential for understanding the nuances of criminal activities within the state. By leveraging comprehensive reporting systems like NIBRS, policymakers can develop targeted strategies to address crime hotspots effectively.By delving into the specifics of crime statistics at both the county and state levels, a clearer picture emerges regarding the areas that require focused attention to enhance public safety and reduce criminal activities.

Leave a Comment