Blaine residents pack heat to protect themselves from crime

Blaine residents pack heat to protect themselves from crime

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Many gathered Thursday for a community meeting about the issue. Many gathered Thursday for a community meeting about the issue.
"So we have a loaded shotgun in our bedroom. So if we had to, we would use it," said Mandi Davis, who was also a victim. "So we have a loaded shotgun in our bedroom. So if we had to, we would use it," said Mandi Davis, who was also a victim.
"My name is Shirley Irwin. I'm 68 years old and in my hand I have my protection," said Shirley Irwin, holding up her pistol. The widow was one of the victims. "My name is Shirley Irwin. I'm 68 years old and in my hand I have my protection," said Shirley Irwin, holding up her pistol. The widow was one of the victims.
"I have this in my purse because I fear for my family and I intend to protect us, so I carry it," said Debbie Watts, who was at the meeting. She's started carrying a gun in her purse out of fear. "I have this in my purse because I fear for my family and I intend to protect us, so I carry it," said Debbie Watts, who was at the meeting. She's started carrying a gun in her purse out of fear.
"The sheriff being ill has nothing to do with the crime increase in Grainger County," said Sgt. Tim Weems, with the Grainger County Sheriff's Office, also present at the meeting. "The sheriff being ill has nothing to do with the crime increase in Grainger County," said Sgt. Tim Weems, with the Grainger County Sheriff's Office, also present at the meeting.

By MONA NAIR
6 News Reporter

BLAINE (WATE) – People in the community of Blaine are upset about crime, and they believe a breakdown in law enforcement has led to it.

Some homeowners are taking law enforcement into their own hands and packing heat.

There were five break-ins Wednesday night, bring the total to 31 homes. Authorities have taken a few suspects into custody for the earlier burglaries.

Many gathered Thursday for a community meeting about the issue.

"My name is Shirley Irwin. I'm 68 years old and in my hand I have my protection," said Shirley Irwin, holding up her pistol. The widow was one of the victims.

"I have this in my purse because I fear for my family and I intend to protect us, so I carry it," said Debbie Watts, who was at the meeting. She's started carrying a gun in her purse out of fear.

"So we have a loaded shotgun in our bedroom. So if we had to, we would use it," said Mandi Davis, who was also a victim.

Residents believe the criminals know they've had a sheriff who has been absent and say that's a huge reason they're packing heat.

"He's been absent for a year now, so it's been prime time to go out and run rampant," Davis said.

"The sheriff being ill has nothing to do with the crime increase in Grainger County," said Sgt. Tim Weems, with the Grainger County Sheriff's Office, also present at the meeting.

"It's a concern to all law enforcement that citizens would take law enforcement into their own hands. Although, in some situations, they can detain an individual until we arrive," Sgt. Weems said.

"We are the 15th house to be hit, and we haven't seen any law enforcement patrol the area, or doing more to watch out and stop what's happening. There's a breakdown somewhere and we don't know where," Davis said.

"I don't want to hurt anyone, but I can," Irwin said, holding up her gun.

The sheriff's office says they have stepped up patrols in the area, but residents say they haven't seen much extra police presence.

Attendees at the meeting talked about things like setting up a neighborhood watch program and similarities in the break-ins. There were also representatives from the security company ADT who say they have a long list of people who have asked for their services.

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