Deputies handling a growing population

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Thursday, July, 3rd, 2014

GROVETOWN, Ga. (WRDW)- One woman says she doesn't feel safe in her own home after having her tires slashed. Now, she wants more deputies in her neighborhood. Growth is booming in Columbia County. More people means more deputies are needed on the roads.

Does more people also mean more crime?

Sheba Reed drinks coffee on her porch every morning, but it's at night when she starts to feel unsafe

"I want to be able to go to bed without worry, and not worry about a home invasion or someone tearing up my property because i called the sheriff's department on them," Reed said.

Reed says there's a lot of crime where she lives, and if she sees something she'll report it.

She says her tires have been slashed and profanity written on her car. She says she called the Columbia County Sheriff's Office wanting a 30 day watch on her home, but then Reed tells News 12 the sheriff's office told her the county is overpopulated and can't do a full 30 day watch but can come by twice a day. Columbia County deputies say an increase in population means more 911 calls.

"I live alone and I wanted protection," Reed said.

Columbia County has been growing for the past decade, but it's the past few years population growth has really spiked. In 2010 the number of people living in Columbia County was almost 125,000. In 2011 it jumped up a few thousand more, and in 2012 population hit 131,000.
In 2013 over the population was 135,000, so over 10,000 people came to the county in less than 4 years.

"Richmond County was getting really bad and I wanted to move away. I didn't feel safe they had some drive by shootings in the neighborhood I lived in," Reed said.

With the growth of Cyber Command even more people are making their way to this booming county, but deputies say it's not an issue because the population goes up every year.

Deputies say they will add more staff if need be. Right now, 117 uniformed officers covering 250 square miles.

"If we have over population I think they need to hire more deputies," Reed said.

Reed says even if deputies can't come as much as she'd like she'll keep her eye out.

"I got my eyes open, and I'm the neighborhood watch," Reed said.

Columbia County deputies say they're getting ahead of the game and are hiring 4 more deputies in January.

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