So far, this year has proven to be very busy for the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. We have seen a significant increase in crime for the first three quarters when compared to 2015. I recently compiled a list of crime statistics and found a surge in crimes that have a considerable impact on the quality of life for Jackson County citizens.
Assault – increase of 19%
Theft – increase of 10%
DUII – increase of 44%
Drugs – increase of 61%
Stolen Vehicles – increase of 10%
Fatal Vehicle Crashes – increase of 60%
While there are many other crime categories we analyze, these are the ones we seem to encounter most often in our daily patrols. These increases are not limited to JCSO; other agencies are seeing the same trends. I am happy to report that burglary reports have decreased this year, but that is not the common theme, as you can see.
We have been fortunate to be able to fill some open deputy positions over the past several months. An increase in staffing allows us to conduct more proactive patrols, which relates directly to the increases we are seeing in DUII and drug arrests. Crime statistics can be deceptive – an increase in arrests for certain crimes is expected when more deputies are working the streets. It doesn’t mean the crimes weren’t happening last year when our staffing was down, it just means we didn’t have enough people out there to address the problems. And we know plenty more are out there. With that in mind, we see a real need to grow and maintain adequate resources in order to reduce the number of offenses and sustain that reduction over time.
We still do not have enough patrol deputies, detectives, or support staff to accomplish the level of safety we want for our community. But the more glaring issue is the lack of an adequately sized jail in Jackson County. Our jail is simply too small for our county’s population, even with the planned reopening of the basement level to add more available beds. Recently, a Police Foundation study recommended minimum staffing levels for our patrol division. But, those numbers may be inadequate as long as we are dealing with the problems that stem from our inability to keep a growing number of offenders in our undersized jail.
Thank you for your support.
Captain Nathan Sickler