A North Carolina sheriff is urging residents to arm themselves amid a recent spike in gang and drug violence in the area.
Harnett County Sheriff Larry Rollins told a crowd Monday night at the Spring Hill United Methodist Church that there has been an explosion of violence and crime in the area, a local ABC affiliate reported.
“When I am out with my family, even though I am a cop, I don’t go anywhere without a gun,” he said. “I mean it’s sad we have to have that attitude, but I am going to protect myself and my family. I want my deputies at your house just as fast as they can when you got a problem, but you better be able to take care of business until we get there if you have to protect your family.”
Other speakers urged residents to keep and eye out and call the police if they see something suspicious.
The station reports that the area has given way to a population boom, and some residents are scared to even leave their homes because of the increase in crime.
“I think they are working hard trying to get solutions for us which comforts us a little bit, but still, knowing [crime is] out there and knowing it happens every day, still doesn’t make you feel safe,” Jamie Salmon told the station.
Sheriff Rollins’ words echo similar sentiments made by Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who said last month that Detroit’s decrease in crime is, in large part, due to more residents arming themselves.
“Criminals are getting the message that good Detroiters are armed and will use that weapon,” he said at the time. “I don’t want to take away from the good work our investigators are doing, but I think part of the drop in crime, and robberies in particular, is because criminals are thinking twice that citizens could be armed.”