The connection is there

Eric Watson Bradley County Sheriff
Posted 9/24/17

When I talk to folks about how your Bradley County Sheriff’s Office deals with crime, a common question is, “does one instance of criminal activity lead to another?” The answer is yes, many …

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The connection is there

Posted

When I talk to folks about how your Bradley County Sheriff’s Office deals with crime, a common question is, “does one instance of criminal activity lead to another?” The answer is yes, many times it does.

I have made the point about how drug abuse usually leads to theft, be it by burglary, robbery or stealing from family, friends or an employer. When members of our Patrol and Criminal Investigations Divisions work a case where money or items are missing, it is a good bet those items are sold to gain cash to buy drugs.

Money in the pocket of one who abuses illegally obtained prescription or street drugs usually means just a few hours of artificial euphoria. When the high wears off, it is back to theft or begging. Experts on the subject of drug abuse and its relationship to criminal activity agree on one thing, if nothing else, and that is the relationship between drugs and crime is complex.

One question is whether drug abuse leads people into criminal acts or whether those who use illegal drugs are already down that road. Over the years, I have learned there are essentially three types of crimes related to drugs.

One is Use-Related crime: These result from or involve folks who ingest drugs. They commit crimes due to the effect the drug has on their thoughts and behaviors.

Another is Economic-Related crime: These are where an individual commits a crime in order to fund a drug habit. These include theft and prostitution. This sort of crime includes one of today’s biggest issues, Human Trafficking. Almost all people involved in this terrible crime have drug and/or family problems.

Finally, System-Related crime: These crimes result from the structure of the drug system. They include production, manufacture, transportation, and sale of drugs, as well as violence related to the production or sale of drugs. Those with a drug addiction are more likely to be booked for crimes such as burglary or theft, or for robbery and handling stolen goods, crimes often related to “feeding the habit.”

I touched just a bit on Human Trafficking. Human Trafficking is the second-fastest growing criminal industry, just behind Drug Trafficking. In the United States, on average, every two minutes, a child is forced into Human Trafficking.

The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office is very familiar with this heartbreaking and very dangerous situation. Interstate 75 runs from South Florida to the Canadian border, and through the middle of our county. We deal with prostitution and the issues that accompany it on a regular basis. I will look at the problem of Human Trafficking in a forthcoming article. It is yet another way to link drugs and other serious criminal behavior together.

Human Trafficking is modern-day slavery, plain and simple. I feel very strongly that it is our job in law enforcement to keep these offenses before the public. Being aware can protect members of your family from being pulled into drug abuse, theft and more, while assisting us in preventing and investigating such offenses.

There is quite a bit of new information released concerning Human Trafficking. For some time, it was a purely international issue. For the past few years, however, law enforcement agencies have begun to deal with it as a local crime, one that easily spread beyond city, county and state borders, as well as into other countries.

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