09/12/06 — You can help: Want drugs out of your community? Keep watch.

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You can help: Want drugs out of your community? Keep watch.

It is staggering to think that millions of dollars of marijuana has been growing in Wayne County, but, unfortunately, probably not all that out of the ordinary.

Many rural counties deal with this sort of problem.

As criminals become more clever and more diverse, it gets harder and harder to make sure they are stopped before they are able to get drugs into Wayne County’s neighborhoods and schools. And there is a cost involved, too. Staking out a field is not a very efficient use of a deputy’s time when there are other, more serious threats to public safety and much more dangerous drug dealers to locate, catch and put out of business.

So, while we need to catch those responsible for planting marijuana, there is not really much we can do that is cost-effective.

But that doesn’t mean property owners should be off the hook, either. They have a responsibility, too.

There is nothing wrong with asking property owners to keep an eye on their land and to educate them on what to look for. If they find something suspicious, they can call the county sheriff’s office and give the deputies the heads up that there could be a marijuana crop that needs to be eradicated.

If dealers and growers know more people are watching, they might think twice about locating fields here. And that means less tax money will need to be spent locating and destroying fields — and deputies can concentrate on other criminal activity.

In this case, the more eyes watching, the lower the bill.

Published in Editorials on September 12, 2006 1:45 PM