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Citizen trends, crime in Carbon County

Sun Advocate reporter

Crime in Carbon County has occurred at an average level, according to the 2008 Utah preliminary report.

However, in an opposite trend, the number of concealed weapons permits issued has nearly doubled from 2008 to 2009, according to the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification. Thus far, in 2009, in Carbon County, there are 1,590 active concealed weapons permit holders.

Concealed weapon permit holders represent a diverse range of backgrounds and reasons for being armed. Some choose to exercise the right for business purposes as they carry cash for bank drops, while others feel it is necessary for protection.

"I see it this way," said Ben Fraughton, of Carbonville. "People wear clothes to protect themselves from the elements. On sunny days they wear less, on cold days they wear more. We never want to be naked to the world. It's that way with personal protection, too. There are a lot of bad people out there and I feel if you leave the house without some kind of protection, you are leaving yourself naked to violence, just as you would if you didn't wear clothes when the weather was extreme."

Fraughton said that he and others like him also never want to be victims who couldn't fight back if they were ever in a Trolley Square kind of scenario where a gunman was taking lives.

"I just don't want to be like that woman who lost her parents to that guy who shot up Lubby's Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas in 1991," he said. "She had her gun in her truck less than 100 feet away, but, because, at the time, the state wouldn't let people carry concealed weapons; it did no good to have it."

According to Fraughton, he believes that a prevailing image of concealed weapon permit holders is that they are wild-eyed gun nuts that want to shoot everything up. However, he and other permit holders disagree with this perception and would like see permit holders as normal, average people who just feel that protection against possible attack is an everyday must.

"I don't carry it to exercise my right to do so," he said. "I do it because I feel I might need to use it some day."

Carbon County crime, on the other hand has not experienced a significant rate change, although the number of burglaries and larcenies rose slightly from 2007 to 2008. The significance of these numbers can be somewhat misleading, according to Price Police Captain Kevin Drolc, because the data is categorized by FBI standards and much of the filing is at officers' discretion.

"These statistics reflect crimes that were reported to the state of Utah and they don't include the hundreds and hundreds of calls that officers go out to and don't report, but there are lots of other things that don't get reflected in the report," said Captain Drolc.

During 2008, larceny emerged as the top offense, with 438 reported cases county wide, excluding East Carbon City. Burglary was second highest at 130 cases and motor vehicle theft was third most common at 28. While Captain Drolc believes that at least some of the vehicular thefts were joy rides, a less serious offense, he noted that larcenies were also a problem with vehicles because people have been neglecting to lock their doors.

"The majority of the time, it's just because people don't lock the doors on their car. It's very rare when a window breaking happens in Price," said the captain.

As far as violent crime, 26 cases of aggravated assault were reported in the county excluding East Carbon City. While the captain didn't offer many specifics, he indicated that alcohol was likely a factor in a high percentage of the assaults, at least in Price.

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