Herrin Break-In Sparks Complaint From Resident

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By Matthew Searcy
By Randy Livingston

HERRIN -- The city of Herrin has seen a string of burglaries and property thefts in the past month and victims are looking for answers.  

Herrin home owner Linda Hess says her home was broken into on Sunday. 
 
She filed a police report but says she was disturbed by what one officer told her, "He said, 'We just don't have enough police force to handle this.'" 
 
The city has only two detectives and did not add another even after last year's record number of break-ins.
 
Mayor Vic Ritter declined an interview to discuss the lack of hires, but last year he admitted the city needed to add six or seven more policemen.
 
Only one patrolman has been added since that time, despite pleas from the police department and residents.  
 
"I would like to see that from the city, to up their police force," said Hess.  "They know the problems are after dark, let's have more officers at night that can patrol." 
 
City leaders say they don't have enough money. New property tax rates were supposed to provide more funding, but it's reserved to help offset pension requirements. The lack of funds means citizens like Hess will have to fend for themselves. 
 
"Right now I am wiring the house with an alarm system that if things are touched it will go off," said Hess. "It will be loud enough that the neighbors will hear it." 
 
Hess shared her concerns at Monday's city council meeting. But no action was taken. Click here to see her argument with Mayor Ritter.  
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