SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) –Sioux Falls police say crimes in the city are continually being committed by repeat offenders who have lengthy criminal records or are out on parole.
They also say they’ve become more violent in nature. That’s why the police department started a new violent crime unit to address the problem, but police say it’s going to take much more than just arresting people.
Police say patrolling the streets of Sioux Falls isn’t like it used to be.
“I think if we look at the recent conversations we’ve had with crime and a lot of the focus we’ve looked on is really violent crime,” Chief Jon Thum said.
And some of that violent crime is being committed by teenagers.
“A lot of young people willing to use weapons or other violence against police or other people, I think it’s important that we talk about these issues and focus on some of the root causes,” Chief Jon Thum said.
The other focus is to hold repeat offenders accountable.
A bill that made it through this year’s legislature hopes to address the issue of reoffenders by limiting parole for violent offenders — making them serve all or at least 85% of their prison sentences once convicted.
Authorities say law enforcement working together plays a big role in holding suspected criminals accountable and keeping the public safe.
“They are going after individuals who don’t want to be caught,” Cpt Josh Phillips said.
Captain Josh Phillips is the supervisor of the Minnehaha County Fugitive Task Force. He says because wanted criminals don’t want to get caught, that can turn into a dangerous situation; one that could involve guns and standoffs.
“We’d rather not go out and look for anybody, but if you’ve committed a crime or did something illegal, you’re going to get caught, it’s just a matter of when ” Phillips said.
But authorities say arresting people isn’t the only answer to making Sioux Falls a safer place to live.
“One of the best things we can do to really minimize crime is support kids and families I think that’s the other piece of this too, a lot of the emphasis gets put on law enforcement and we’ll do our job and I’m a little biased but I think we do a better job than anywhere but we also need to focus on the other side of things which isn’t always a law enforcement response when it comes to crime it’s that preventive measure we can see with you by supporting kids and supporting families,” Chief Thum said.