Rapid City Police attribute growing crime rates to meth use

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RAPID CITY, S.D. -

2017 crime statistics are in for Rapid City, and police are attributing some rising numbers to the meth epidemic.

In 2017, car thefts were up 38 percent from 2016, and homicides were up 250 percent. Additionally, arson was up 350 percent. 2017 also brought a 44 percent increase in reports of aggravated assault and a 16 percent increase in reports of sexual assault.

Capt. James Johns, with the Rapid City Police Department, said the region's methamphetamine problem can be blamed for increased numbers across the board.

“In a perfect community, people can leave their doors unlocked,” said Johns. “And the reality is with methamphetamine in this town, you can't do that. There's a link to methamphetamine to a lot of our crime, and so as long as there's a problem with methamphetamine, we do need to keep our cars locked, and our doors locked, and our houses and things like that.”

There was a 5 percent drop in thefts from 2016, and a 14 percent drop in robberies.

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