SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Sioux Falls Police are seeing more aggravated assaults, but domestic assaults are down from a year ago. The city has also seen fewer rapes and homicides than last year, but the number of stolen vehicles continues to rise.
The mayor, police chief, sheriff, and state’s attorney presented the latest numbers at the Public Safety Building this morning. Even with a growing population, crime numbers are consistent with past years. The notable exception is a 14 percent rise in crimes where a weapon was present or used.
“The willingness and ability to use weapons amongst people now is juts at a higher rate people and so I think that’s what we see a lot of these crimes that used to be simple assaults are becoming aggravated assaults because of the use of weapons,” said Police Chief Jon Thum.
Thum says the use of weapons is most often among people who know each other.
Reducing the number of stolen guns could impact those assault numbers. The Chief reminds people to never leave or sotre their guns in cars.
Unlocked cars are also linked to another growing crime in the city.
Vehicle thefts. Not only are cars being left unlocked but in the vast majority of the stolen cars cases, the keys were left inside. KELOLAND news has reported on many stolen vehicles in the last few months. The owners we talked with told us they either forgot their keys or kept a spare set hidden in the vehicle. The city says it will be unveiling a new public service campaign to remind people to lock their cars in the near future.
Domestic assault cases are down and the Chief believes its because of the work done by the Compass Center and the Children’s Home Shelter for Family Safety, formerly known as the Children’s Inn.
“The work that these organizations do as far as supporting victims of domestic violence making sure they have the steps they need to get them out of unhealthy situations and not be repeatedly victimized is a positive step,” said Thum.
Mayor Paul Tenhaken says overall the crime news is good and Sioux Falls is a safe place to live.
“We are the 121st largest city in the country right now, and there are not many in the 100 to 120 range that can stand up and give a press conference like this with graphs like this right now,” said Tenhaken.
The mayor also credits the work of the Sioux Falls Area Drug Task Force in getting drug dealers off the streets and lowering crime.