UNION COUNTY — While most categories of crime remained unchanged or decreased, there were more murders and drug-related crime in Union County in 2015 than in 2014 according to the Union County Sheriff’s Office.
In the “Union County Sheriff’s Office Year in Review — 2015” report, Sheriff David Taylor announced that crime “has remained level or dropped in most categories in the county in 2015.” He said that the report covers only cases handled by his office and does not include information on the City of Union or the Town of Jonesville.
Taylor said that his greatest concern is that 2015 “saw a sharp increase in murders, In 2014 there was only one murder reported and in 2015 there were three murders and one is still unsolved.” He said that because of the nature of the crime the unsolved murder has been turned over to the State Grand Jury, adding that no further information is available about the case.
Taylor said the number of burglaries was down in 2015 by 20 cases to 141. He said the number of larcenies in 2015 was down by 31 cases for a total of 249.
The number of assaults were also down for the year overall, but Taylor said Criminal Domestic Violence and Simple Assault were slightly up by seven cases. While the number of overall assaults for 2015 was down by five cases, Taylor they still totaled 318 cases for the year.
Taylor said that there were three areas of the county’s crime stats that showed increases. He said those increases are a growing concern for his office.
“We saw an increase in the number of vandalism reports in 2015 from the previous year,” Taylor said. “In 2014, we had 171 reported vandalisms and in 2015 we had 196 cases reported. The increase of 25 cases is a significant amount over a one year period. The Sheriff’s Office is looking into other ways to combat this problem.”
Taylor said the other two areas of increase “go hand-in-hand with each other. One of them is the increase in the number of drug arrests and the quantity of drugs taken off the street. In 2015, we had four more drug arrest than we did in 2014. We made 221 drug cases in 2015 and 217 in 2014.”
While an additional four cases may not seem like much of an increase, Taylor said the amount of narcotics seized in 2015 compared to 2014 “is scary for a county of our size.
• In 2015, the Sheriff’s Office seized $5,703 in currency compared to $15,374 in 2014.
• Three vehicles were seized in 2015 compared to one in 2014.
• 17 Meth labs discovered in 2015 compared to 12 in 2014.
• 275 prescription pills seized in 2015 compared to 490 in 2014.
• 1,255 Marijuana plants seized in 2015 compared to 60 in 2014.
• 32 gallons of lcohol seized in 2015 compared to 20 gallons in 2014.
• 70 grams crack cocaine seized in 2015 compared to 6 grams in 2014.
• 30 lbs. of mushrooms seized in 2015 compared to 10 grams in 2014.
• 923.5 grams of Methamphetamine seized in 2015 compared to 61 grams in 2014.
• 4 stolen vehicles seized in 2015 compared to two in 2014.
The last area weapon violations which Taylor showed a considerable increase between 2014 and 2015.
“In 2014, we made 18 weapons violation cases and in 2015 there were 30 weapon violation cases that were made by the Sheriff’s Office,” Taylor said. “One of the reasons for the increase is due to the number of weapons being carried by the drug dealers in Union County.”
Taylor said that drugs are a serious problem in Union County and called for greater efforts to prevent drug addiction before it develops.
“It is very evident that we have a drug dependency problem in Union County,” Taylor said. “The only reason people cannot get a job in Union County is because they are not looking or they cannot pass a drug test. We need to be proactive in breaking this trend of drug dependency, starting with the young children. We need to educate them on the dangers of drug addiction and we need to start today!”
Taylor also called on the people of Union County to assist law enforcement in the fight against crime.
“We have got to be diligent in our fight against crime in our county,” Taylor said. “It’s not just for law enforcement but also for the citizens to keep us informed of unusual activity.
“May we have a safe and Happy New Year,” he said.
This story was submitted by the Union County Sheriff’s Office.