SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Sioux Falls saw a record number of homicides in 2020. That’s according to the latest crime report for the city released Wednesday.
Police Chief Matt Burns broke down those numbers. He says the pandemic played a role in the increase.
“Looking at the 2020 numbers, I do think it is very important for us to remember that from the middle of March on last year, the entire crime and public safety dynamic of our city was impacted by the pandemic, in fact there were many similarities to what we saw here in Sioux Falls that was occurring across the country,” Sioux Falls Police Chief, Matt Burns said.
In 2020 the city saw 13 homicides — which was a record. The previous record was 10 back in 2017.
“Other categories of violent crime showing increases were aggravated assaults and robberies, many of the cases had a drug connection and occurred during illicit drug transactions where most often both parties were armed,” Burns said.
Burns also brought up the amount of drugs seized for the year. He credits the work of the department and the Drug Task Force.
“The team seizures for fetanyl was 308.13 grams, heroin at 281.44 grams, and methamphetamine at 64.27 pounds are all in the top two seizure amounts in the history of our department,” Burns said.
Sioux Falls mayor Paul TenHaken says while there was an increase in crimes in 2020, they are getting solved at a rate that surpasses the national average.
“When crime happens in our community, we have an incredible team and incredible group of detectives that go to work and bring closure to a large majority of those crimes, Mayor Paul TenHaken said.
Overdose deaths were down when compared to 2019.
Mayor TenHaken touched on juvenile crime — saying it is increasing and that the community needs to focus on how to curb that. Chief Burns says the department will continue to focus on community policing and building relationships, as well as drug enforcement, and investing in training.