Despite the fact that crime statistics show a dramatic drop in violent crimes over the past 25 years, many people in West Virginia feel more unsafe than ever before. There are a number of reasons for this phenomenon, including extensive up-to-the-minute social media posts about nationwide criminal activity or sensationalized media coverage. In addition, sometimes the steps that people take in order to feel safer may actually encourage unfounded and unnecessary fears. For example, a number of smartphone apps present themselves as crime-fighting tools that people can use to be more aware of their neighborhoods and potential threats.
Mass incarceration has become a hot-button political issue in West Virginia and around the country in recent years. Research into the consequences of placing millions of Americans behind bars makes for sobering reading, but the results of a study conducted by researchers from Cornell University have shocked even experts in the area. The Family History of Incarceration Survey was based on data gathered from 4,041 people by the University of Chicago, and it suggests that 45 percent of Americans have an incarcerated or formerly incarcerated child, spouse, sibling, parent or grandparent.