Officers in the Martinsburg detachment of the West Virginia State Police made the most felony arrests in the entire state in 2015, according to an annual report.
Troopers said burglaries, break-ins and theft are the felonies they deal with the most.
“Grand larceny, which would be theft over $1,000 dollars, burglary, that would be breaking into someone’s home, breaking and entering, which would be like breaking into a shed or a business,” Sgt. James Burkhart with the Martinsburg detachment of the West Virginia State Police said.
However, Burkhart said the majority of these felonies aren’t done in order to feed a family, but instead to feed an addiction.
“The culprits are breaking into people’s houses, and they’re stealing to support a drug habit,” Sgt. Burkhart said.
According to the annual report, state troopers out of the Martinsburg detachment made 1,135 felony arrests in 2015, and officers said the majority of those arrests come as a result of the heroin epidemic in Berkeley County.
The report also found as the population of the county continues to grow, so does its criminal activity, especially in regards to heroin.
Officers said addicts can find a fix just about anywhere in the county.
“When you can quickly travel to Baltimore and return to the area and some people make several trips a day or even a week to feed their habit. I’d say that is what’s helping fuel the problem in the area,” Sgt. Burkhart said.
Although troopers said they are equipped to handle the problem, having more officers on the street could curb the issue. Especially because the department has fewer officers now than it has in the past.
Currently, there are 24 troopers working out of the detachment with 20 assigned to road patrol and four supervisors.
Back in 2013, the detachment had 28 troopers with 22 assigned to road patrol and four supervisors.
“We have a lot of good troopers here, as well as a lot of good officers at the sheriff’s department and city police…but we could definitely use more man power up in this area and in the state,” Sgt. Burkhart said.
There were 11,868 calls for service made in 2015 for the Martinsburg detachment.