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Car 54, where are you?

As a small business owner I would like to express my concerns and disappointment in the quality of coverage we are receiving from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office and hopefully this will stress how important it is for Farragut to create its own police department.

Last Saturday I arrived at work at 8 a.m. and could hear the alarm going off in my store, Farragut Wine & Spirits. I saw a Sheriff’s car sitting there and just assumed he was there because of the alarm. But apparently not. I proceeded to get out of my car and walk to the store and saw no movement from the officer sitting in the patrol car. I then proceeded to enter the store alone and turned off the alarm. Again the officer made no attempt to offer assistance or in any way escort me into the store. I stood outside the door and motioned for the officer to come to me, because I did not want to go into the store alone, but still no movement from the officer. He then drove off, leaving me to search my store by myself.

I am writing this because this is only the most recent of incidents where the Sheriff’s Office has been of no assistance. We are constantly having high school kids drive their cars through the parking lot like it is a race course, except they are coming from all directions at one time. Our customers stay away from the store from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in fear of being run over. The empty Kroger building and our parking lot are constantly being painted with obscene graffiti. A few times, late at night, we have had to get high school students off the roof of the building where they are running back and forth. The people that live close by in Concord Woods complain constantly about the kids drag racing in the parking lot for hours on end and they leave in their wake a ton of trash, including empty beer bottles, food, oil filters and oil cans (Yes, they even have been observed changing their oil and dumping it into the storm drains in the parking lot. When the police were called they said they could not do anything because the person had to be caught in the act of putting the oil down the drain) and even used condoms.

Someone’s child is going to get seriously injured or killed during these crazy acts.

The Sheriff’s Office has been called numerous times, but we are always told that they can’t do anything. It is private property and the responsibility of the property owners. We have called the high school and been told the same thing. They both have advised us to hire private security at $125 an hour, which we cannot afford to do.

Recently several adjoining stores, in a strip center east of us, were broken into at the same time and thousands of dollars were taken and hundreds of dollars of damage was done to the front doors and windows. It took the Sheriff’s Office more than 40 minutes to arrive and by that time, the thieves were gone.

Farragut is growing, and as a result, crime is increasing. But because we are treated as unwanted step-children by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, the thieves, graffiti “artists” and make-believe race car drivers see us as easy targets. And as a result, I am afraid this is only a drop in the bucket and other crimes are going to intensify.

I have been told that it will cost an estimated $1 million to create a police department for Farragut. I know this is a lot of money, but perhaps the $550,000 intended for new “historic” lights on Campbell Station Road can be used to get things started. I believe the safety of our citizens and business owners should take a priority over unneeded, decorative lighting.


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