Crime is a booming business in Floyd County with increases in break-ins, thefts, assaults, domestic violence, bad checks and more.

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.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Doug: While there have been a few unusual incidents of crime and/or violence over the past year in Floyd, most residents (native and newcomers) still feel very fortunate to live in this little piece of paradise. Yes, there have been several high-profile and very unfortunate events, but the Floyd Press listing of court cases has not significantly changed — either in quantity or the nature of the offenses — in the past ten years. It is a blessing to live in a place where you can leave your doors unlocked and truly not worry about it, and where you can start your car in the morning a couple of minutes early to let it warm up without worrying about it being stolen. People in many other parts of this country do not have the good fortune to live in such a place as Floyd County.

  2. I’m curious as to how you apply a benchmark to the claim that the “listing of court cases has not significantly changed.” I’m the one who covers court for The Floyd Press and have been reporting on that change for the past five years. The number of court cases have changed. The number of crimes involving theft, drug abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault have changed. We went a decade without a murder and now have had two in the last two years along with another shooting death.

    We used to average one jury trial every four-or-five years. Now we have four or five a year. When the Director of Emergency Services goes to the Floyd County Board of Supervisors to warn that crime is on the rise, it is a clear signal that we have a problem that needs attention.

    I’d suggest spending a few Tuesdays in Circuit Court, Thursdays in District Court and Fridays in Family Court. It could be a revelation.

  3. The relevance of the crime report numbers is strikingly similar to the reports our kids get when playing Sim-Town. In this game the “mayor” makes choices to avoid various natural, sociological, or economic disasters befalling the “town’s” populace. In the game it’s a simple matter to make some changes, to tweak a few parameters. For example the town builds a library or school or jail, funds a garden or park, builds housing, or roads.
    I think people play this game due to the ready choices, and the quick response of the game to the inputs. Real life communities actually have similar choices, though only a select few, perhaps the boldest and wisest of participants, are able to convince others of the clarity of a growth vision, and make the tough political choices to manage the growth.
    I hope that Floyd continues to have the ability to evaluate and make good choices, for clearly we have done well up until now (with occasional slips). And the population appreciates the importance of their contributions; which is more than paying our taxes and participating in community. I think Floyd’s residents, more than any area I have participated in has internalized the blessing of the classical virtues:
    * Valour: Pursuit of Courage and Knowledge
    * Generosity: Pursuit of Giving
    * Liberality: Pursuit of Will
    * Diligence: Pursuit of Ethics
    * Patience: Pursuit of Peace
    * Kindness: Pursuit of Charity
    * Humility: Pursuit of Modesty

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