Baker County Sheriff's Office: Rise in reported child neglect cases 'good thing'

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Source: A rise in reported child neglect cases in Baker County, double what was reported a year ago, is actually a good thing, according to the ...

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A rise in reported child neglect cases in Baker County, double what was reported a year ago, is actually a good thing, according to the Baker County Sheriff’s Office. In 2017, the Sheriff’s Office said it worked 12 reported child neglect cases. In 2016, there were five. Sheriff’s Office Maj. Randy Crews said the rise in child neglect cases is a good thing because it reflects the fact that more people are actually reporting the crimes. “What I will tell you, is child neglect cases, or anything to do with child abuse, the numbers that get reported are not the actual numbers that are happening,” Crews said. “It’s actually good when you get more reported because that means individuals are coming forward reporting child abuse. It’s generally kept quiet – hidden — but it happens on a lot larger scale than what’s actually being reported.”A recent child neglect case that rocked the Baker County area was the death of Lonzie Barton. The 2-year-old’s remains were found in woods off Interstate 295 in Jacksonville’s Bayard area following a six-month search.Crews said he hopes people will continue to come forward if they think a child is being neglected or abused.”The last thing we want to do is have children being abused and people sitting on that information and being quiet and not reporting it,” Crews said. “That’s what we need to do, be vigilant and when it’s reported, take it seriously and investigate it.”Crews said one clue, besides the obvious bruising and unexplained injuries, would be change in behavior. Besides child neglect, there was a slight uptick in murder cases from one in 2016 to two in 2017. In June, a man was shot to death in Margaretta. The other was a murder-suicide in August. A man killed his wife and then himself, according to authorities. The 2016 murder involved a mother and her boyfriend who were charged with killing her son.
That’s compared to neighboring Duval County, where 119 murder cases were reported, according to News4Jax’s count. Crews attributes the big difference to population but also the gang activity in Duval County.”We do like to pride ourselves on being a small, tight-knit community (where) everybody knows everybody,” Crews said.Crews said they’re also doing a better job at solving crimes. In 2016, The Baker County Sheriff’s Office solved 40.7 percent of its cases. In 2017, they’ve solved 43.6 percent.Crews said drugs and property crimes are the county’s biggest issues, so that’s what they will continue to focus on in 2018.
Source: News 4 Jax

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