By Krystle Henderson/KTVL.com
JOSEPHINE COUNTY, Ore. - There has been a rash of burglaries in Josephine County and those thieves aren't going to jail. Budget cuts and the failed tax levy are putting those criminals back on the streets.
"We've had to turn burglars loose and of course they turn right around and commit crimes again," Sheriff Gil Gilbertson said.
Thieves are just being cited and released, no different than a parking ticket but the sheriff has no choice.
"If there's no money, there's no employees, if there's no employees, fact is crime is going to run rampant and we're starting to see that," Gilbertson said.
Now a group of community members are coming together with plans to save the justice system.
The group, Securing Our Safety, is made up of city and business leaders, law enforcement and concerned citizens, those who voted for the levy and against it.
"The goal of this group is to look for answers, whether that be finding new sources of funding, looking for new options, talking to people in the community, trying to rebuild trust in our leadership," member David Smith said. "That has already generated some great ideas, some of which are being put into place now."
"If we all join together, we can all make a difference together," member Christine Schmidt said.
The group has been brainstorming ideas since the tax levy failed. They have been talking about solutions such as bringing in more businesses, utilizing natural resources and timber, sales tax and a smaller property tax increase.
They want to talk about and hear even more ideas from everyone in the community who is willing to share. Securing Our Safety is also in the process of becoming a non-profit.For more information about the group and how you can share your ideas with them, click here.