Sheriff Blames FEMA Trailer Parks For Rise In George County Crime

Welcome to one of George County's newest neighborhoods. It's filled with FEMA trailers for families displaced by hurricane Katrina. And Sheriff Garry Welford says it's also filled with problems.

"A lot of this is just disturbance calls. Husband and wife fighting. Kids roaming around on neighbors' properties where they are not supposed to be, loud music, things like that."

Almost 400 are now living in FEMA trailers in George County. While this new lifestyle is better than having no where to live, it isn't easy.

"Where you have numerous families and numerous people crowded together in a smaller area, people have a tendency to not get along," Welford says.

That's nothing new for resident Rodney Fairley.

"It feels unsafe," Fairley says. "I haven't seen anything, but I've heard stuff. Shooting, people writing stuff on trailers."

Sheriff Welford says arrests for burglary and breakins are up, along with the domestic disturbances.

"Everything's increased except my staff," he adds.

Welford says the problem is the people living in the mobile homes aren't paying any property tax. So although the population has risen in George County, the tax base hasn't.

Welford says he can't afford to hire more deputies.

"We're tight. We're stretched,"Welford says. "Until these new residents build homes and start paying property tax, I don't see how the supervisors could have the extra money to allocate."

And Welford probably won't for see a drop in the population anytime soon or the problems more people bring.