A recent wave of burglaries rocks Sullivan County. Our Eva McKend has more from the county Sheriff on the difficulties of tackling what is becoming a widespread issue.
SULLIVAN COUNTY, N.Y. -- An officer in Harris is making his rounds. After a wave of burglaries across Sullivan County, Sheriff's deputies have no choice but to pound the pavement, look for evidence and ask questions, but the Sheriff says given the cut backs, it's no easy job.
"To go out and solve these burglaries, it takes man power. The only way to combat the burglary problem is with police. We need more overtime. We need more people or a combination of that and we'll be working with the legislature to try to get one or both of those," said Sullivan County Sheriff Michael Schiff.
The Sheriff characterizes the rash of burglaries as drug driven, a product of the heroin problem in the region. The office has already investigated 55 this year. The legislature says cutting back on over time came from a directive from the Governor's office.
"One of the things that we decided to do was to cut over time by a $100,000 for road patrol that spends over time at Bethel Woods because that’s where we don’t think the burglaries and the violent crimes are taking place," said Public Safety Committee Chair Cora Edwards.
The Sheriff says the presence of more officers on the street can reduce the burglaries but citizens can also be proactive and vigilant.
"We’re asking for the public to partner with us. They are there every day. They see things that we aren’t going to be there to see. No one knows what vehicles or people belong in the neighborhood than the people that live there," said Schiff.
Both the legislature and the Sheriff agree another critical component to curbing the problem is for all local police agencies to continue to work together.
Any citizen with information on any burglaries is encouraged to call the Sheriff's Confidential TIPS line at (845) 807-0158.