Population, and crime, on the rise - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Population, and crime, on the rise

November 12, 2003

Lee County-- Crime is on the rise in Lee County, "You know what? Population increases and so do the problems." Law enforcement say it's just another side effect of the booming population.

More people and more businesses spawn more crime. That's the reason law enforcement gives for the steady increase of crime in Lee County.

Profits at the Doublegate E-Z Mart in Lee County continue to grow. But with more people comes another side effect--more crime. Manager Marilyn Bullington says, "On a monthly basis I saw almost 1,000 dollars last month in bad checks. Because Lee County is good at collecting them we do see some of that money but sometimes it takes years before you see it come back."

Lee County's Chief Investigator says white collar crime is rampant, "One thing with the increase in growth of commercial property what comes along with that is a lot of white collar crime. As I've mentioned--bad checks, credit card fraud, forged checks, counterfeit checks, counterfeit money."

Here's a breakdown of crime stats in Lee County. In 2001, the Sheriff's Office took 15,211 calls. In 2002, they had nearly six hundred more--15,805. That's the same year this corporate giant moved into Lee County, "In 2002 we had 568 calls to WalMart so that kind of reflects some what the difference in figures there."

2003 is not out yet, but they expect to surpass last year's crime number. For the manager at Doublegate E-Z Mart--you've got to take the good with the bad, "It's like a wash, sometimes you have to pay attention to what's going on but you know a lot of it is going to get away from you, you just have to factor it into the profit and loss." And that's what they will continue to do--factor in the expected theft--but enjoy the rewards of more shoppers.

The Sheriff's office has hired several more patrol officers and investigators to meet the demand.

Posted at 4:01 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com

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