2011 has been a busy year for the Delta County Sheriff's Department. From road patrol to cases investigated by their resident detective, what have the top crimes been this year?
Sheriff Gary Ballweg said up to 35 percent of crimes committed are drug related. Drugs like meth, marijuana, and prescription pills continue to be sold and abused.
Police are investigating an increasing number of scrap metal thefts as well. Thieves are targeting yards, farmyards, and buildings. Many cases go unreported.
Either people think that someone took something that wasn't worth very much, explains Sheriff Gary Ballweg, or it was worth something, but they're not aware of the value. And then the scams--many are not all are being reported. Many times people are afraid or feel embarrassed."
The struggling economy has made many people opportunistic to make a quick buck. Authorities say the elderly are the biggest target for scams. That's the top third crime in 2011.
According to police, about 20 victims in Delta County alone lost an average of $2,200 in a construction scam. A man originally from the Menominee County area promised them a windmill. The people gave him a down payment but never received the product. Police are now on the lookout for the subject, who's left the area.
So what can people do to avoid scams?
Call your local police department, said Detective Sergeant Dan Johnson. Find out if they've heard of any other scams like this. Run checks on licenses. Run checks on anyone that's going to be doing work on your home."
Authorities say crime rates are about the same as last year.