Rising violent crime in rural areas, likely caused by an increasing use of drugs in those same areas, is stressing local police forces. Shibani Mahtani reports in The Wall Street Journal that local sheriffs and town police are being overwhelmed. This is all the more reason for Americans to get their guns and their training now. Mahtani writes:
The violent-crime rate in rural areas rose above the national average for the first time in a decade, according to the most recently available data from the federal government. Though cities, on average, still have a higher violent-crime rate than rural areas, large metropolitan areas are safer than they have been in decades, while small communities in some states are getting more dangerous.
In at least 10 U.S. states, most in the Midwest and Northeast, the rate of violence in rural counties has increased over the past two decades, even as it has fallen or stayed the same in those states’ metropolitan areas, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of federal crime data.
In these less-populated areas, increased drug use and associated crimes, like drug trafficking, prostitution and theft, as well as domestic violence, are fueling the rise. Dealing with mental health has become part of policing, as deputies find themselves spending hours searching for a free bed in a treatment facility. New crime-fighting strategies are designed for urban policing, and sheriffs who police small towns say they are playing catch-up.
Small departments, where budgets and the number of deputies have remained stagnant, are overwhelmed. The number of sheriff’s deputies patrolling 691 square miles in Ross County, which sits some 50 miles south of Columbus, has remained at four over the past two decades. The population over the same period has increased to 77,000 from about 72,000. Starting pay for deputies is $35,000 a year, compared with the Ohio average of about $60,000.
Read more here.
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