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Sioux Falls police chief blames drugs for increase in crime

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Sioux Falls Police Chief Matt Burns is blaming drugs for an increase in more violent crimes and calls for service in the city last year, but they are fighting back by seizing more drugs than ever before.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Sioux Falls Police Chief Matt Burns is blaming drugs for an increase in more violent crimes and calls for service in the city last year, but they are fighting back by seizing more drugs than ever before.

Burns said the department received 103,698 calls for service in 2016, a 7.2 percent increase from the previous year’s 96,488 calls and a 19.8 percent increase from 2010. Violent crimes were also up with murders doubling from three to six and aggravated assaults up from 317 to 345.

The increase in calls for service is directly related to an increase in the amount of methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin in the Sioux Falls area, Burns said.

“Those involved in illegal drugs have a tremendous impact on those around them and that impact is not positive,” Burns said. “Addiction has a ripple effect on the community, often times resulting in other crimes.

“Drug use and abuse continue to have an impact on the quality of life in and around Sioux Falls. Many drug users resort to other crimes to fund drug addictions, and consequently many people are victimized by this illegal behavior,” the chief said.

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To show how drug use and the fight for more arrests have developed in the past year, he said the drug cases handled by the Sioux Falls Area Drug Task Force have increased by nearly 1,000 cases in the past four years and said a new police detective has been assigned to that section.

The number of narcotics cases was 2,772 in 2016 compared to 1,883 five years ago in 2012.

Meth seems to be the major problem. The task force last year seized 17,227 grams or 37.98 pounds compared to 4,433 grams or 9.77 pounds in 2015.

The amount of meth seized roughly translates to nearly 69,000 doses, according to Burns, with a value of more than $600,000.

Cocaine and heroin seizures were also up substantially. There were 1,384 grams or 3 pounds of cocaine seized last year, compared to 326 grams and .71 pounds in 2015.

Heroin seized last year was 91 grams compared to 8 grams in 2015.

Marijuana seizures, however, dropped significantly to 114 pounds last year, compared to 475 pounds in 2015. It was among the lowest amounts in the past five years.

Besides the violent crimes, there were also major increases in robberies up from 110 to 132, stolen vehicles jumping from 472 in 2015 to 697 last year and forgeries up from 237 to 324.

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Related Topics: CRIME
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