Violent Crimes Linked to Drug Use

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Sioux Falls police say a  number of violent crimes over the past few days have a common connection: drugs. 

Those who are on the front lines of treating addiction say this could be a sign of a worsening drug problem in the area.

Back-to-back violent crimes: a shooting, and a hostage situation. 

“We do know that the suspect in this case had been using illegal narcotics and drinking alcohol,” Sioux Falls Police Lt. Mike Colwill said. 

“We don’t know exactly what he was under the influence of, but enough of his behavior seemed to be that he was under the influence of some drug,” Sioux Falls Police Public Information Officer Sam Clemens said. 

In both cases, police believe drug use was a catalyst for crime.  
Darcy Jensen with Prairie View Prevention Center says drug use changes the addict. 

“We see people getting violent, we see people getting desperate, we see people doing things they wouldn’t normally have done” Jensen said. 

Jensen says crimes like those we’ve seen this week, show a changing Sioux Falls. 

“When you think about someone shooting their own relative, someone breaking into your house, the different crimes we’ve seen recently really do show the changes we’re seeing in our community of Sioux Falls,” Darcy Jensen said. 

Jensen says this is especially hard for families. 

“Oftentimes, someone who we might think is friendly, harmless, changes when a substance is part of their life,” Prairie View Prevention Center’s Director Darcy Jensen said. 

Jensen says for tactics such as therapy to work, treatment needs to start early. 

“Prevention works, but if you already have somebody that’s 35 that’s when the intervention and consequence works. Not the prevention, at 35, they’re already to the point where you’re not preventing anything,” Jensen said. 

Jensen says a lot of the time families think they can handle violence coming from a family member on drugs. 

She says it’s always best to contact law enforcement because of how unpredictable people can be. 


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