Crunching the Numbers: How the 77th Rally stacks up

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STURGIS, S.D. -

As the 77th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally draws to a close, city officials and police have started crunching the business and crime numbers.

Sturgis city officials, along with local and state law enforcement presented preliminary crime and business statistics for the rally at a press conference Friday afternoon.

Early information from local businesses indicates good sales numbers this year.

“Pretty much everyone’s happy,” said Sturgis City Manager Daniel Ainslie. “Last night, we had our vendor reception and social [and] I’ve honestly never seen as many vendors nearly as happy as what they were. Talking with a lot of the year-round business owners throughout downtown, they were all really ecstatic.”

Law enforcement reported a decrease in DUI arrests over last year, for which they credit restaurant and bar operators cracking down on excessive alcohol consumption.

“We improved on our DUIs,” said Sturgis Police Chief Geody Vandewater. “We are lower than last year, so that’s always a success that ‘hey, people are thinking’.”

The report wasn’t all good news, though, as total crime numbers increased over last year. “Misdemeanor drug arrests are skyrocketing, [and] we’ve had a lot more contact with juveniles … most of them are consuming alcohol,” continued Vandewater.

Police said one possible reason for the increase in some crime statistics is a greater law enforcement presence during this year’s rally, resulting in more encounters with rally-revelers.

However, despite the increase in overall crime numbers, officials praised this year’s event as a great success for the city of Sturgis.

“It’s been a very good year,” said Ainslie.

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