To make matters worse, the increase comes as Floyd County’s already-undermanned sheriff’s department and Commonwealth’s Attorney face more cuts in state funds.
Emergency Services Director Ford Wirt told The Floyd County Board of Supervisors last week that an upswing in crime is also increasing the number of prisoners the county sends to the New River Valley Regional Jail in Dublin, adding to costs for a cash-strapped government.
“The situation is bad,” Wirt says, “and it’s getting worse.”
An upcoming retirement in Floyd’s State Police contingent could also cut back on coverage by troopers.
A new round of cuts from the state wants to increase the ratio of deputies serving the county from one for each 1,500 residents to one for each 2,000. That would take at least two more deputies off the road and Sheriff Shannon Zeman tells me he could be left with only one deputy patrolling county roads at night.
Meanwhile, break-ins at residences and businesses increase and the court docket fills with cases against the county’s criminal class. Gas stations report more people trying to drive off without paying for fuel, merchants tighten their check acceptance policies because of the glut of bounced checks and alarm companies field more and more calls from business owners and residents in Floyd County.
Graffiti is up on buildings, overpasses and public property. The town of Floyd grapples with all-too-frequent vandalism at the new public restroom on South Locust Street. Deputies answer more and more calls at homes to break up fights involving couples who claim to love each other.
Some blame it on the economy, others on the mood of the times and others on the influx of newcomers to the county.
Whatever the reason (or reasons), the increase brings a little more hell to our piece of heaven in the country.