Fed up with rampant crime in Merced County's rural areas and a sheriff's department ill equipped to handle the problem, victims -- mostly farmers -- have long been demanding a solution.
This week, Supervisor Deidre Kelsey proposed one: a new, four-deputy sheriff's team that would work exclusively to catch thieves who target rural communities.
"The criminals are becoming more and more brazen," Kelsey said during a board meeting Tuesday, where she formally proposed the new sheriff's team and asked other supervisors to support the plan. "They're even coming during the day now when families are home. This has become a serious public safety issue."