CONCORD, N.Y. (WIVB) - Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard addressed a rash of recent property crimes in the southtowns Tuesday night.
A packed crowd gathered inside the Concord courtroom to hear Sheriff Howard and his deputies address the recent rash of larcenies, break-ins and burglaries in the area. Sheriff Howard explained that crime numbers are up almost 50 percent around the Springville area.
The sheriff has been holding these town hall meetings throughout Erie County on his own. But residents asked for Tuesday night's meeting.
Chief of Police Services Scott Joslyn said, "They had a concern and rightfully so of what appears to be a rash of car larcenies and a series of burglaries and larcenies in general. And they were looking for an explanation and what our game plan was to combat it."
Sheriff Howard said the meeting wasn't meant to scare people but to let them know about what's happening. The sheriff and deputies explained that these are crimes of opportunities. Many times the assailants are looking for items they can sell in a hurry, largely to fuel their drug addictions.
"Our experience is that when an arrest is made, it's not usually for one burglary or one car larceny. And often times, even in the northtowns, we find they tend to take us into the southern tier," Sheriff Howard said, adding, "And the driving force behind most of these crimes is the addiction to drugs, whether it be opiates or prescription drugs."
Residents also had the chance to ask questions and raise their own concerns.
Sheriff Howard said, "We don't like to be thought of as that big agency that you can't reach out to and touch and that when you call nobody answers and when you complain, nobody responds. So we're here; we're going to get out to every township that wants us."
If you're interested in attending one of the sheriff's town hall meetings, the next is Wednesday, September 26 at 7 p.m. at the Elma Town Hall.
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