70% increase in filings of felony charges in Lincoln County since 2016

Local News

CANTON, S.D. (KELO) — Felony filings are on the rise in Lincoln County. The state’s attorney says he is seeing more than 40 felonies filed per month in 2019.

“In 2016 we filed about 321 felony files in the office, which would include all the felonies of violent offenses through drug offenses,” Lincoln County State’s Attorney, Tom Wollman said.

Wollman says so far this year they’ve filed over 540 felony charges, that’s up 70% since 2016.

“Predominately our increase is driven by the drug methamphetamine, whether it be property related crimes which is burglaries or storage unit thefts, garage burglaries, things like that, a lot of those are driven by methamphetamine,” Wollman said.

In Brookings County, the state’s attorney’s office is also seeing an increase in felony filings, but there is a different driving force behind those numbers.

“We’ve seen an increase in the number of felony filings as well as felony convictions this year, and that’s due largely to THC oil, which is a compound of the marijuana plant, it’s broken down into an oil,” Brookings County State’s Attorney, Dan Nelson said.

Back in Lincoln County, Wollman says about 80% of charges are related to methamphetamine. He says there needs to be a blended approach when dealing with addicted offenders.

“To those who say that we can’t incarcerate our way out of this problem I agree, however it needs to be a blended approach of incarceration or loss of liberty, coupled with treatment and rehabilitated measures,” Wollman said.

However Wollman says he doesn’t expect the trend in felony filings to change.

“We are trending up right now significantly and I don’t foresee that changing,” Wollman said.

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