These Are The 5 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in West Virginia

West Virginia, known for its stunning natural beauty and tight-knit communities, offers a slower pace of life. However, like any state, it has areas with higher crime rates. This information is crucial, especially if you’re considering a move to the Mountain State.

This article will explore five West Virginia neighborhoods with statistically higher crime rates based on data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program and local news reports. It’s important to remember that crime rates fluctuate, and this is a snapshot based on current data. This is not an exhaustive list of every troubled area, but a focus on a select few with concerning statistics.

1. South Charleston, Kanawha County, West Virginia

South Charleston, a city bordering Charleston, has consistently grappled with property crime. In 2022, South Charleston reported a property crime rate of 5,872.3 per 100,000 residents, significantly higher than West Virginia’s average of 2,341.8. This translates to a higher likelihood of experiencing theft, larceny, and motor vehicle theft.

While violent crime rates in South Charleston are lower than property crime rates, residents still express concerns about safety.

Safety Tips in South Charleston:

  • Be aware of your surroundings, especially at night.
  • Park in well-lit areas and avoid leaving valuables in your car.
  • Consider installing a security system for your home or business.
  • Get to know your neighbors and build a sense of community watch.

2. Huntington, Cabell County, West Virginia

Huntington, a city along the Ohio River, faces challenges with both violent and property crime. In 2022, Huntington reported a violent crime rate of 42.1 per 100,000 residents and a property crime rate of 4,125.7 per 100,000 residents, both exceeding the state averages. Assault and aggravated assault are the most frequent violent crimes reported here.

Socioeconomic factors and drug trafficking are often cited as contributing influences to crime rates in Huntington.

Safety Tips in Huntington:

  • Increase vigilance, especially after dark.
  • Avoid walking alone at night, especially in high-crime areas.
  • Report suspicious activity to the police.
  • Look into community programs or neighborhood watch initiatives.

3. Beckley, Raleigh County, West Virginia

Beckley, the Raleigh County seat, has specific areas with higher crime rates. The historic downtown area, while charming, has seen a rise in property crime in recent years. This includes theft, vandalism, and burglary.

In 2022, Beckley reported a property crime rate of 3,218.5 per 100,000 residents, with the downtown area likely exceeding this average. The Beckley Police Department has implemented targeted patrols in this area to address these issues.

Safety Tips in Downtown Beckley:

  • Secure your belongings and property, especially in high-traffic areas.
  • Consider extra security measures for your home or business.
  • Be aware of your surroundings, especially at night.
  • Report any suspicious activity to the police immediately.

4. Wheeling, Ohio County, West Virginia

Wheeling, a historic city on the Ohio River border, has areas with higher crime rates. The Center Wheeling neighborhood, once a thriving commercial district, now faces challenges with drug activity and property crime.

In 2022, Wheeling reported a property crime rate of 3,874.1 per 100,000 residents, with Center Wheeling likely exceeding this average. While Wheeling’s overall violent crime rate remains relatively low, the Center Wheeling neighborhood has seen a rise in property crimes.

Safety Tips in Center Wheeling:

  • Avoid poorly lit or deserted areas, especially at night.
  • If you must be in the area, stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.
  • Report any suspicious activity to the police immediately.

5. Kimball, McDowell County, West Virginia

Kimball, a former coal mining town in southern West Virginia, faces challenges with drug trafficking and violent crime. In 2022, Kimball reported a violent crime rate of 82.5 per 100,000 residents, significantly higher than the state average. While the specific details of these crimes haven’t been publicly disclosed, the higher rate is a cause for concern.

Safety Tips in Kimball:

  • Get to know your neighbors and build a sense of community.
  • Look into neighborhood watch programs if available.
  • Increase vigilance, especially after dark.
  • Report any suspicious activity to the police immediately.

Safety Beyond Crime Rates

While crime rates are a significant factor, they aren’t the only indicator of a safe neighborhood. Here are some other crucial aspects to consider:

  • Access to Amenities: Living near schools, healthcare facilities, and grocery stores fosters a sense of security and convenience. Strong community infrastructure with well-maintained roads and sidewalks allows for safe pedestrian and cyclist movement.
  • Community Engagement: A vibrant and engaged community fosters a sense of belonging and collective responsibility. Look for neighborhoods with active community centers, resident associations, or neighborhood watch programs. These initiatives can significantly improve safety and create a more positive atmosphere.

Empowering Residents

Many West Virginia cities and neighborhoods offer resources to improve safety. Residents can get involved in neighborhood watch programs that promote vigilance and cooperation. Community policing initiatives foster trust and collaboration between residents and law enforcement.


The five neighborhoods explored in this article represent areas with higher reported crime rates in West Virginia. It’s important to remember that crime rates can fluctuate, and these are just snapshots based on current data.

When choosing a place to live in West Virginia, go beyond crime statistics. Research the available amenities, infrastructure, and the overall community atmosphere. Look for areas with strong social networks and resident engagement.

Remember, safety is a multifaceted issue. While some neighborhoods may have higher crime rates, proactive residents and community programs can significantly improve the situation.

West Virginia remains a state with a strong sense of community, and these areas shouldn’t be seen as inherently dangerous. However, being informed allows you to make well-rounded decisions for yourself and your family.

The final takeaway is that safety is a collective responsibility. By getting involved in your community and advocating for positive change, you can contribute to creating a safer environment for everyone in West Virginia.

Additional Considerations:

  • Cost of Living: West Virginia boasts a lower cost of living compared to the national average. Consider how much you’re willing to spend on housing and other necessities when choosing a neighborhood.
  • Job Market: Research the job market in your desired area to ensure opportunities align with your career goals.
  • Outdoor Activities: West Virginia offers abundant opportunities for outdoor recreation. Consider your proximity to parks, trails, and other outdoor amenities when making your decision.

Remember: This article provides a starting point for your research. Always consult with local law enforcement and residents for the most up-to-date information on specific neighborhoods.

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MBS Staff
Articles: 7392

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