DULUTH - Maj. H.B. Hulsey said he believes a significant portion of the crimes in Gwinnett County are drug-related.
The illegal-drug trade has caused the county's murder rate to increase, he said. Drug dealers are robbing each other, and drug users are robbing convenience stores and breaking into homes to find money to feed their addictions.
Crack cocaine and methamphetamine are two of the worst drugs, Hulsey said. Both are so powerful that people who become addicted to them will go to extreme measures to find the cash for their next fix.
"They'll steal from their parents, they'll steal from their grandma, and they'll damn sure break into your house," Hulsey said.
But the county's Special Investigations Section, which operates the Multi-Agency Drug Task Force, is on a mission, doing everything it can to drive the drug dealers out of Gwinnett County, Hulsey said.
Hulsey, the commander of the Special Investigations Section, said officers have "a sense of urgency" to find the drugs.
"I don't care it's for a nickel bag," Hulsey said. "We want the seizure, and we want the intelligence."
The task force was created in 2004, seizing $9 million in illegal narcotics that year, Hulsey said. In 2006, the task force seized $55 million in drugs. So far this year, the officers have seized more than $49 million in drugs.
But the officers cannot do their work alone. With more than 6,500 subdivisions in Gwinnett County, it's impossible for the police to have a constant presence in every neighborhood, Hulsey said.
To help the police, Hulsey said people have to be nosy neighbors, keeping an eye out for suspicious activity and reporting the details. To report a tip to the Special Investigations Section, call 770-962-NARC.
There are many ways to prevent crime as well, Hulsey said. Burglars don't want to be seen or heard, and they don't want to take a lot of time finding jewelry or money to steal. Hulsey suggested residents keep the home's door visible from the street, install an alarm and store their valuables in unusual places - and not in the master bedroom.
"We're only going to have the amount of crime as we as a community are willing to have," Hulsey said, "and I don't want to be a volunteer victim."