The Yadkin County Sheriff’s Office is working on making its crime prevention programs and services to the taxpayers better known in the county.
Sheriff William Oliver and some his staff are scheduling crime prevention meetings at volunteer fire departments throughout the county.
The first meeting was held at Buck Shoals Volunteer Fire Department in Hamptonville on Feb. 28. Sheriff Oliver spoke to a large crowd of Hamptonville residents.
Oliver said that burglaries in the county are down, drug violations are up, robberies and larcenies are down, domestic violence is up, arrests are up and the jail population is increasing.
He noted that the reason for the increase in drug violations, arrests and jail population are due to an increased effort by the department to crack down on drugs in the county. He said the rise in domestic violence is likely due to stress caused by the economy, a lack of jobs in the area and alcohol and drug abuse.
Oliver passed out maps that show where burglaries have occurred around the county.
“You’ll notice that some of the burglaries are on the edge of the county because many times people will come from outside the county since they aren’t recognized as easily,” Oliver said. “This is true of our criminals in the county as well. They get caught a lot in Ashe and Wilkes counties because the neighbors don’t recognize them.”
Oliver told attendees that the jail addition construction is on schedule despite the weather. Once it’s complete he expects the county could save up to $500,000 a year by not having to transport criminals to other jails.
“I know you don’t like to hear that your tax dollars are being used to house, feed and care for criminals, but we’re trying to take a larger portion of your tax dollars away from this jail and put it back into the community by adding this addition,” Oliver said. “With the amount we pay in rent to other jails housing these prisoners and transporting them to other counties, the jail will be paid off fairly quick, I think.”
Larry Handy, the department’s Crime Prevention Officer, was present to share information about some free programs.
Options included community watch programs, a high school program that will teach kids about drunk driving and texting and driving, drug awareness for pre-teens and teens, child abduction prevention, bicycle safety, programs to prevent identity theft, workplace safety, domestic violence, telemarketing fraud, business crime prevention and more.
What we’re trying to do here tonight is let you know what all is available to you,” Handy said. “We want you to go back to the programs, clubs or organizations you’re involved in and share these crime prevention programs with them.”
One resident present at the meeting expressed concern that the homes of deceased community members were targets for thieves who wanted to steal plumbing and wiring.
Sheriff Oliver told the crowd that it’s important that they call the department to inform the deputies of any homes that may be vacant for a longer period of time due to illness, death or even at vacation time.
“You can call and tell us when you’re going to be on vacation or when a home will be empty, and we’ll include that to our increased patrol list,” Oliver said.
Oliver noted that it was increasingly important that residents stop posting their daily lives on sites like Facebook and Twitter. He said that criminals are starting to pay attention to these status updates.
“Providing information about your family and associates, vacation and when you’re away from home provides information to criminals,” Oliver said. “Once you post it you should assume the rest of the world is seeing it.”
Oliver thanked the Hamptonville residents for attending.
“We appreciate you all being here tonight,” Oliver said. “There has not been that much attention paid to this area in the past, and I don’t understand why. You all pay as much taxes as anyone else. I think we need to be spending a little time and money with the taxpayers and not just the criminals.”
Additional meetings will be held throughout the county over the coming months. The sheriff’s office will release the dates prior to each meeting and The Yadkin Ripple will post them in our community calendar. For more information, call the Yadkin County Sheriff’s Office at 679-4217.
Reach Lindsay Craven at 679-2341 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.