Sioux Falls, SD
Crime in Sioux Falls is an issue on many minds, from where it's been, to where it is, and where it's going.
Sioux Falls Police Chief Matt Burns broke down the 2017 statistics in front of the city council on Tuesday, saying they "continue to reflect what we know to be true."
He highlights one drug in particular.
"The addiction to and trafficking of illicit drugs, specifically methamphetamine, opiates, and marijuana, are a pervasive and growing problem in our city, and continue to drive the majority of the crimes reported to us, both of a violent and of a property nature," Burns said.
Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead also emphasized the role of meth.
"I have never been more concerned about the safety of my officers, and your police officers and our state troopers, than I am today, because of, in particular, our meth users and their propensity to not be afraid to carry a gun, and not afraid to use it," Milstead said.
"You see with the drug crime, the felonies doubled, me being a mom of three young boys, you know it scares me," city councilor Christine Erickson said.
Looking back a few years, Sioux Falls is like other cities, Burns says.
"While the trend since 2011 has been a marked increase in the amount of drug crime and the violent crime that comes along with that in our city, what the FBI numbers tell us from 2016 is that we are at the national average," Burns said.
Not good enough for him.
"No, I am not satisfied with being at the national average," Burns said.
Council member Theresa Stehly says there is, however, one number people want to see go up.
"What I'm hearing from people is that they'd like to see even more of a neighborhood presence of a police officer around," Stehly said.
Other councilors see reason to feel positive and press on.
"I think for some of those that have been hearing some numbers, and I think some things have been talked about like...everything's going crazy here crime-wise, and what's going on, I think those that paid attention and maybe will look at some of these statistics will be a little more reassured," Selberg said.
"We certainly have work to do, it's nice to know that some of those are going down, but we certainly have work to do," Erickson said.
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