Gun permits on increase

LISBON – The number of concealed weapon permits issued in Columbiana County increased by 57 percent last year and is expected to exceed that figure in 2013.

A total of 1,122 concealed weapon permits were issued last year by the county sheriff’s office compared to 707 in 2011, according to sheriff’s office annual report for 2012.

Sheriff Ray Stone said the pace has picked up considerably this year, with as many as 20 to 30 people showing up at a time during the four days set aside each week to process permit applications.

“They’ve literally tripled this year,” he said.

Stone was asked for a possible explanation behind the spike in permit applications. “I guess fear of what the government may do to crack down on gun ownership” in response to the school shooting in Newton, Conn., he said.

The sheriff’s office has issued more than 6,500 permits since Ohio’s concealed weapon law went into effect in 2004.

According to the annual report, the number of burglaries increased last year by 27 percent, to 157, while the number of breaking and enterings jumped by 20 percent, to 133.

Burglaries are at occupied structures, while burglaries that occur at unoccupied structures are classified as a breaking and entering. Stone believes one reason for the increase in breaking and enterings is the number of abandoned homes being stripped by thieves of their copper plumbing.

Following are numbers for some of the other categories in the sheriff’s annual report, compared to 2011:

– Total Complaints Received: 5,066 (4,239 in 2011)

– Fraud: 203 (155)

– Domestic Disputes: 336 (305)

– Rape: 7 (8)

– Other Sex Offenses: 30 (28)

– Stolen Vehicles: 100 (79)

– Suicides: 22 (6)

– Reports of Suspicious Activity: 431 (261)

– Theft: 617 (498)

– Vandalism: 335 (336)

– Warrant Served: 1,186 (1,132)

– Foreclosure Sales: 591 (563)