Rapid City, SD
Incidents of panhandling, vandalism and other crimes are not uncommon in downtown Rapid City. With warmer weather in the forecast and more people spending their time outdoors, we take a look at how these crimes are being reduced.
Michael McKinney is the store manager at The Spice and Tea Exchange in downtown Rapid City. Though his business has not fallen victim to crime, he knows it's something that's not uncommon.
"I've heard of other stores that have experienced vandalism. Our neighbors across the street have witnessed a little vandalism," McKinney said.
It's something that's not uncommon for Rapid City Police either.
"Recently we did have a couple windows that were broken on a business, we do have some ongoing issues with panhandling, harassment," Don Hedrick, Rapid City Police Department, said.
As the weather becomes nicer, officers are able to patrol on foot and on bikes in the downtown area, giving people in the community a more visual presence.
"Whenever you have an officer that's downtown or visible by the public, people feel better, people feel safer, and folks that are looking to commit a crime are going to be less likely to commit a crime if they see an officer standing on the street," Hedrick said.
Though officers are present, they're not the only ones watching for crimes.
"It's important for not only our shoppers but our business owners to be those eye and ears, to call in crime when they see it, so that we can respond," Hedrick said.
It's something McKinney is always be aware of.
"I definitely do think it's something that's possible. It's possible in any sort of downtown area like this," McKinney said.
The Rapid City Police Department is holding a meeting on May 16 with business owners to hear their concerns about downtown and to also let the public know what the department will be doing as the busy summer season picks up.
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