|Sun, Jul 23, 2017 09:47 AM
|Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
|2003-06-18 opinion |
|This trend is something to worry about|
|You may not have noticed a growing and disturbing trend from our coverage of crime in the Big Sandy region, but odds are you've seen other evidence of it.|
Because we've been covering news in this part of the state for quite a long time, some things tend to become more obvious to us, and in this case what has become obvious can also be described as unsettling.
The monthly reports of grand jury activity around this region show two things...crime is on the upswing, and the criminals are getting younger.
We haven't put a pencil or a calculator to our theory, but the grand jury reports we've been publishing over the past several months have included more accused in their 20s than in their 40s.
While young people have always been among the lawbreakers in the Big Sandy, grand jury indictments have, in the past, reflected a more "mature" class of alleged felons, with cold checks, felony-offense DUI, flagrant non-support and one or more forms of welfare fraud accounting for most of the charges on true bills returned.
Those usual subjects are often interspersed by high profile crimes, like murder, rape and robbery, but those "big town" crimes are still rare as far as the percentages go.
These days, though, the criminals are getting younger and the crimes are getting scarier.
Drug-related offenses are common, but violent crimes that are directly or indirectly related to drugs are growing more frequent.
The types of drugs being used, abused and trafficked are so much more dangerous — and lucrative — than the occasional bag of pot we used to fret over.
Our theory, as we said, is not based in scientific fact, but developed from observation and experience in covering such news.
We are losing more young people to drugs and drug crimes than ever before, and the drugs and the drug crimes are becoming much more potent and much more deadly.
They are turning too many hopes of attaining the American Dream into drug-induced nightmares.
If we don't wake up soon and start paying attention, as a society, there will be little society left.