Benton County Sheriff's Dispatch

Eric Knox
Benton County Sheriff
Hello Benton County,
The new jail construction is nearing completion. It was proposed to be finished in October, but as many of you have seen, it’s running a bit behind. I’m glad, considering the challenges of COVID-19 and Mother Nature, that we are not further behind. I don’t currently have an official completion date to share but based on my personal experience, I’d estimate late November or early December. As soon as I hear a solid date I will let you know. It is my intention to hold an open house with the approval of the Benton County Health Department. I believe that, we the people, deserve to see where and how our tax dollars were spent. 
I want to share some of Benton County’s crime statistics so far for 2020 as compared to last year at the same time. These statistics were as of August 31st. Domestic violence calls are up, with a total of 36, 10 more than the 26 in 2019. Physical disturbances are up with a total of 11, there were 5 in 2019. When we compare ourselves to the rest of the nation the numbers are small, but any amount of domestic violence is too much. There have been several reports put out about how the added stress and confinement during the pandemic are causing a rise in the amount of domestic violence. Benton Countian’s I’m asking you to find healthy outlets for that stress, and if you feel like lashing out physically against a loved one, seek help. 
There have been 15 stolen vehicles this year compared to 4 in 2019. Thefts, 27, and burglaries, 23, remain the same as last year. Please don’t leave your keys in your vehicle and make sure to lock the doors to your homes, garages, vehicles and sheds. Don’t make it easy for these thieves.
I will always advocate for our “Neighborhood Watch Program”. I have spoken with homeowners and residents in Arrowhead Estates and Cole Turkey Acres recently about how to minimize stealing in their communities. Your best preventative is neighbors helping neighbors. Get to know your neighbors and keep an eye on each other’s place. Install motion lights, bad guys HATE motion lights! It’s an inexpensive way to deter sneaking around your house undetected. I also recommend security cameras. Many are very affordable now and will alert you if someone is threatening your residence or property. Law enforcement is familiar with most of the repeat offenders and are able to identify the perpetrator if a clear image is captured of the vehicle or identifying marks such as tattoos or clothing. 
If your community has a Neighborhood Watch Program, be proactive, get involved. Lights come on, make those cameras visible, be alert to your neighbors. (WRITE DOWN LICENSE PLATE NUMBERS OR TAKE A PICTURE WITH YOUR CELL PHONE!) The bad guys are going to see these measures and shop somewhere else. For a complete list of all the statistical call data, or to find out how to start your own Neighborhood Watch Program, come by your Sheriff’s Office or call me at 660-438-6135.
Thank you for your time, 
Sheriff Knox.