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Crime slows as stay-home order continues

As the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the majority of life in Franklin County, community members have been forced to stay home and find other avenues for their time. While this might come with some negatives, one positive is local police departments report a lower crime level in the past few weeks.

“It has been relatively quiet recently,” said Russellville Police Department Chief Chris Hargett. “I think people are taking things seriously, and everyone is trying to abide by what they were told to do and stay home.”

Hargett said he has also seen a significant decrease in the amount of traffic because of people having to stay home.

Hargett did say Russellville Police Department received a report of possible price gouging from a local business.

“We have looked into that, and they have been made aware of laws concerning price gouging,” said Lt. Jake Tompkins. “We are working with the attorney general’s office to make sure any instances of price gouging are taken care of. Since that instance, we have not had any more reports of price gouging.”

Tompkins said he was unable to say which business was accused of price gouging, only that it was a local business.

Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver said he has been impressed by how well community members have handled the pandemic.

“I feel like at first people were initially sort of panicky because there were a lot of unknowns, and no one really knew what was going on,” Oliver said. “Now that we have had some time to adjust, I think everyone seems to be doing really well. Things seem to be pretty calm.”

Oliver said the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office has had a few calls about domestic disputes, but he said some of that is probably attributable to people being home together for excessive amounts of time.

“Crime levels have been sort of what you expect them to be with a lot of people being home,” Oliver said. “I hope people continue to stay calm and do what is needed so we can have everything return to normal as soon as possible.”