SABINA — Sabina Police Chief Keynon Young hopes to curb drug abuse, which he believes leads to most of the village’s crimes.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, which tracks some of the more heinous violent and property crimes, shows that in 2013 Sabina residents reported two violent crimes and 78 property crimes, which include burglary, larceny and motor-vehicle theft.
Those numbers are higher than they were prior to when Young took office in late 2010, but Young says that’s mostly related to better reporting on SPD’s end.
“I don’t know that we have had a tremendous increase in property crimes,” Young said. “We’re handling them properly, so that the numbers reflect what’s truly going on.”
For instance, Young said, people would report domestic violence and police would find that it was just an argument without any threat of violence. But, Young said, they still report it to the UCR program as a report of domestic violence because “that’s the reported crime.”
There are also several instances of families being victimized by one of its own members, reporting it and then not wanting charges pressed, according to Young.
Young said he does believe there’s been some increase in crime, and he attributed that to increase in the prevalence of heroin.
“Most of the property crimes are either someone not being in the right mind and doing something to property,” he said. “Or, the fact that they might be stealing or whatnot in order to get money to support their habit.”
Addicts also steal cars to meet with someone to get drugs, Young added.
Young appeared frustrated with the battle against heroin.
“If we can control the dope – the heroin, the meth – we could essentially do away easily with 75 percent of the crimes overall,” Young said. “The drugs are leading to a tremendous amount of the crimes.”
Chief among complaints, Young said if he receives a call about a heroin overdose, he can’t make an arrest even after someone who overdosed tells medical responders how much heroin they took.
“I can’t get them in court,” Young said. “My hands are tied. … All I can do is force you to get help.
“We had one girl three times in the last month overdose in the village,” he also said. “I can’t have somebody die in my town because I’m not doing anything. I’ve got to do something.”
That girl, Young said, refused treatment at the hospital, meaning Young couldn’t get a blood or urine test, either.
In response, Young has begun finding ways to cite those who aid heroin users. In one case, he said a woman was overdosing from heroin and another woman initially told responders the overdosed woman hadn’t used heroin. Then, she changed her story and said it might have been heroin. Young cited her for obstruction of justice for the deception.
He’s also begun citing homeowners who have continuous drug use in their homes with charges of contributing to another’s crime.
“It seems like everywhere I turn there’s compassion, but nobody’s got any answers,” he said. “I talked to heroin addicts here in town and the answer I get is ‘I’m an addict, I need help.’”
Young said his only recourse is to get addicts in court, where a judge can order them to get treatment.
On the positive side, Young said he believes that the department’s new K9 has already deterred drug dealers and forced them to go elsewhere.
And, he thinks legislators should put attachments on the use of Naloxone, more commonly known as Narcan.
“I firmly believe that if you use Narcan on somebody and they come out of the overdose … that there is a charge that’s affixed with that Narcan,” Young said, later adding that a forced referral would also help. “I’m not looking to put anybody in prison, but we need a way to get you to court where somebody can try to help you.”
Young also said Naloxone costs money, which the user of doesn’t typically pay.
Young thinks efforts to educate addicts are good. But, he thinks police, who see it firsthand, need more power to get people help.
“We can’t even get them to the hospital unless we charge them.”
Reach Nathan Kraatz at 937-382-2574, ext. 2510 or on Twitter @NathanKraatz.