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Monday, December 5, 2005

Editorial

Crime on the rise

web posted December 5, 2005

OPINION – In the last four weeks a total of seven people have been shot resulting in two deaths in the area. The most recent left an Edgefield man dead Saturday afternoon on Martintown Road. We have received several e-mails, comments, and letters asking what is going on with people lately with four shootings resulting in six people killed or wounded and seven arrests. One man is still missing and wanted for murder.

None of the shootings have been connected other than all involved Edgefield County residents in one way or another and two of the shootings occurred in the county.

Edgefield County is normally a rather quiet county. Over the last year, however, we have seen an increase in crimes and some of them very violent in nature. It has been a strain on the Sheriff’s Office as they are understaffed when it comes to deputies on patrol. That fact is not the fault of Sheriff Adell Dobey; his hands are tied by the budgetary controllers, the County Council. They determine how much money the Sheriff is allocated to run his office and provide for patrol deputies. To properly patrol the county the Sheriff’s Office needs to have at least an additional six deputies.

Even with the additional deputies you can never predict the most unpredictable actions of people.

What is driving the recent rise in crime? Most crime is the result of drugs and a majority of those are related to crack cocaine. In casual conversation with Sheriff’s Narcotics Investigator Roosevelt Young he has stated crack is one of the most addictive drugs and it is ruining the lives of everyone involved, not just the user.

Some would argue that if we just got rid of the guns we could stop all the crimes committed with guns. That is a naive thought. Man has been committing murder since the beginning of time. Cain killed his brother, Abel, and did not need a gun to do it. Furthermore criminals do not purchase guns legally to commit crimes. The old saying, “if you outlaw guns only outlaws will have them,” is based in truth. Legal gun owners commit fewer crimes than any group.

Is there any magic move that can be made to solve all of our problems? Sadly no. Increasing the number of law enforcement personnel would help. Sheriff Dobey has said the main drive is for his Office to be able to provide proactive law enforcement rather than reactionary enforcement. The fact his office is able to provide the level of proactive enforcement we have presently is a credit to the deputies he employs.

The level of crime in the past year has shown, however, that we sorely lack the needed manpower to protect the growing population with a growing drug problem. With growth comes people and with more people comes more drugs and crime. County officials have constantly pushed the growth and over the last six years have gotten it. Perhaps those same officials should be careful what they ask for next year. Moreover if the County Council is not going to take the increase in revenues from taxes and use them to protect the people who pay the taxes.

  




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