Mark Caserta: Huntington, WV. is becoming a sanctuary for everything bad in the U.S.

Updated 28 weeks ago Special to HuntingtonNews.Net
Mark Caserta: Huntington, WV. is becoming a sanctuary for everything bad in the U.S.

It’s imperative to remember “fake news”, or “news designed to influence, rather than inform,” is real.  And it’s alive and well in Huntington, WV.

Now, fake news targeting political differences is one thing. But, when “fake news” begins to compromise the safety of citizens…it’s time to hold media accountable.

It became a “red flag” when various local news media began reporting certain aspects of crime were down in Huntington. Any intellectually honest person with a pulse and a TV, radio or mobile device can certainly see the apparent level of criminal activity within the city of Huntington does not support those conclusions.

Those engaged individuals monitoring Norm Miller’s Huntington City Watch and its “real time” reporting would be the first to challenge the validity of these media claims.

Free State Patriot, Huntington City Watch and concerned citizens decided to investigate the actual numbers.

First, understand, numbers can be manipulated. When dealing with double or even triple digits, percentages are easily impacted and skewed to influence rather than inform.

Some percentages may show a decrease, but when dealing with double or even triple digits, percentages are easily impacted. For example, if a city had 20 homicides in 2017, and incurred 3 less in 2018, the media could accurately report homicides were down 15 percent.

But for all intents and purposes, is there really much difference between 20 and 17 lives taken in a year? “15 percent” is just ambiguous enough to sound more impactful for the story and support a desired agenda. It simply cannot be construed as a trend, as some would have you believe.

Many engaged citizens are very concerned that our local media, both print and television, are in the back pocket of the local deep state and want you to believe our city leaders have Huntington headed in the right direction.

I submit nothing could be further from the truth.

Having lived in this area my entire life, I know we’ve prided ourselves in the Tri-State as having comparatively low crime rates compared to cities across the country. Contrary to reports, those days have passed us by. I’m going to offer some specific numbers relative to Huntington, WV. as compared to national averages.

According to City-Data.com, a website that tracks all things “crime-related” across the nation, Huntington, West Virginia has achieved, yet, another dubious recognition.

It has become one of the most dangerous cities in the country. In fact, per the website, Huntington’s crime index is higher than 97.2 percent of other cities in our nation!

There are currently 177 registered sex offenders living in Huntington, as of December 29, 2018. That’s a ratio of one sex offender per every 273 citizens.

The fact that in 2016, the violent crime rate in Huntington was exactly “double” that of the U.S. average should be extremely concerning for all of us.

The following are criminal statistics per 100,000 in population and have been mathematically adjusted to align with our current, reported city population:

    • Murders per 100,000 population – Huntington 6.2 vs. U.S. 5.7
    • Rapes per 100,000 population – Huntington 68 vs. U.S. 32
    • Robberies per 100,000 population – Huntington 258 vs. U.S. 110
    • Assaults per 100,000 population – Huntington 447 vs. U.S. 266
    • Thefts per 100,000 population – Huntington 3084 vs. U.S. 1869
    • Auto thefts per 100,000 population – Huntington 237 vs. U.S. 254
    • Arson per 100,000 population – Huntington 41.2 vs. U.S. 15.2
    • City-data.com crime index – Huntington 559 vs. U.S. 236

Read more: http://www.city-data.com/crime/crime-Huntington-West-Virginia.html#ixzz5b61qKjuw

Now, the role of mayor can vary significantly depending on the city in which they were elected. In the city of Huntington, the mayor and the city council work together on developing and approving legislation within the boundaries of our city charter. Both entities have their prescribed veto power and generally share responsibility of city business.

So, if you were responsible for a city facing this mounting criminal presence, how would you address it? How important would the peace and prosperity of your constituents be? How inclined would you be to reduce law enforcement simply to accommodate a budget?

Who is worthy to decide it was worth putting our citizens at risk?

Well, in 2017, as reported in a January, WSAZ News Channel 3 news release, Huntington Mayor Steve Williams authorized reductions reducing police department staffing by 17 officers and fire department staffing by seven. In a statement in the release by Mayor Williams, the cuts were made to reduce the city’s budget deficit which was apparently poorly managed.

“We have made every effort to save as many jobs as possible and continue providing essential services,” Williams said. “These actions will not resolve all of our budget issues. We know we will be managing our way out of this for the next 18 months with the primary objective of avoiding further reductions in force. Our residents expect and deserve world-class service, and as we continue to address these financial constraints, we will implement procedures to ensure this cannot happen again.”

“The fact is when we came down through the end of the fiscal year and knew that some things were tight, we asked for budgets as we were preparing for the coming year,” Mayor Steve Williams said Thursday on First Look at Four. “and the next thing, we look at where we are right now, and that’s when the overages in each department became extremely clear. This should’ve been seen sooner. This is nobody’s fault but mine.”

At the time, WSAZ spoke with members of the police and fire departments.

“For the first time in 23 years, this mayor came in and handed our chief a budget,” said Sgt. Brian Lucas, the president of the local Fraternal Order of Police. “Not a number to form a budget around – he said here’s your budget. That budget included 111 officers, but he only allowed enough money for 102 and we were mandated to hire up to 113 at one point.”

“This is just a horrible decision on the mayor’s part,” said Lucas. “I’m not a numbers guy, but there has to be a better way. I think this situation’s been totally mismanaged and he’s absolutely laid it on the backs of employees at this point, throwing those cuts out there and he’s putting the citizens at risk.”

And putting the citizens of Huntington at risk is EXACTLY what has happened.

We now face an overwhelming crisis of crime to the degree I’ve not witnessed in my lifetime in the area. Our crime rate is even much higher than any of our nearest cities, some exponentially! And adding “insult to injury” we have a local media that is attempting to convince us our city is headed in the right direction.

Is that the Huntington, WV you want for your family? Are we going to support local media that apparently has more concern for the perceived success of this administration than it does your safety?

We are 6 months away from the end of “18 month” period during which Mayor Williams said, “we would be managing our way out of this…” We should demand an increase in our city’s police presence, certainly by then or even sooner!

I highly recommend everyone visit Huntington City Watch on Facebook and submit your application for membership. It currently has over 20,000 members in a city hovering around 40,000 members. As we all know, there is strength in numbers.  It’s truly a great way to see through the fake news.

The city of Huntington is becoming a sanctuary for all that’s bad in our nation.

Intentionally?  You decide.  Nevertheless, it’s true.

Get informed, engaged and involved – before it’s too late.

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