By Bob Weaver

Crashing stock markets, collapsing financial institutions, $700 billion government bailouts and high consumer prices have gripped the country with panic.

Nationwide, some law enforcement officers are concerned the economic meltdown could endanger citizens' safety just as much as their bank accounts.

Hard times leads people to take drastic action, particularly property crime.

Calhoun appears to have been struck by a significant increase in property crime this year, although the West Virginia State Police will not issue a report of incidents, even after the Hur Herald requested minimal information by using a Freedom of Information request.

Sources, however, have said as many as 35-40 ATV's and recreational vehicles alone have been reported missing.

Information on the street, all unconfirmed, indicates dozens of property crimes each month, including numerous breaking and enterings, stealing guns, tools, cash, etc.

Sheriff Carl Ballengee says it appears the activity has quieted down following arrests by the Sheriff's Department.

Because the country has not faced such dire economic concerns in many years, it is difficult to predict what will happen.

Theft is the most frequent crime directly tied to poor economic times.

The key to citizens protecting themselves from crime no matter the economic conditions is prevention, property owners being vigilant, lighting up areas around property, locking doors better, or installing surveillance cameras.

The Herald has maintained that the public needs to know about incidents and reports of crimes, advising the State Police that perhaps their best ally in crime-solving is citizens.

The Herald will report theft and criminal activity, seeking information about possible suspects, by calling 304-354-6183 or emailing bob@hurherald.com.

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