Mayor Don Wesely today said an increasing amount of crime in Lincoln is closely linked to the use of methamphetamine, and he called on citizens and retailers to help fight the trend. Police Chief Tom Casady said meth has been tied to two homicides and other violent crimes including several armed robberies and assaults.
"An increasing amount of crime is apparently connected to methamphetamine use, and it is reason for all of us to be concerned," said Wesely. "Our law enforcement officials have done an excellent job solving many of these crimes and fighting the use and sale of meth. I am confident that with the community's help, we can keep our community one of the safest in the nation."
"Methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug, and manufacturing it is a dangerous operation," said Chief Casady. "Because its ingredients are readily available and it is relatively low in cost, the presence of meth continues to increase in Lincoln and in the Midwest." Law enforcement officials responded to 43 meth lab incidents in Lancaster County during 2001, 22 in the city limits. During the first eight days of 2002, three meth labs have been discovered.
"We need to stop the spread of meth in Lincoln and Lancaster County," said Wesely. "Meth contributes to crime and can destroy the life and future of those who use it. All of us need to be alert to the signs of meth production and use. If we don't, the City and County risk paying the price in higher crime rates, incarceration and medical treatment costs."
Casady released preliminary crime statistics for the City of Lincoln for 2001 showing a 7.1 percent increase over the same period last year, driven primarily by larcenies. Lincoln recorded six homicides in 2001 compared to three in 2000. (See more figures at end of release.)
Mayor Wesely, Chief Casady and Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner are asking for citizens to be vigilant in reporting anything suspicious, such as unusual odors and activities. They are also asking local retailers to redouble their efforts to report suspicious requests for and sales of large quantities of the substances used to manufacturing methamphetamine.