Rapid City breaks homicide records two years in a row
RAPID CITY, S.D. — The year isn’t over yet, and Rapid City has already surpassed last year’s record for homicides.
2020 was a record-breaking year, with 12 homicides – double that from 2019. There’s been thirteen homicides in 2021 to date, but why?
“I just think it goes along with the national trend. I think there’s a lot of factors that go into it. Meth use is a significant problem in our community, but so are the issues surrounding mental health,” says Rapid City Police Department Captain James Johns.
Drugs and guns are at the forefront of violent crime. RCPD says they get two to three calls per week for reports of shots fired.
“The reality is, if you’re hanging around drug dealers and you’re hanging around people that do drugs and do bad things, you’re likely to get hurt, but if you lead a good life and aren’t messed up in the drug world or the gang world, odds are you’re not going to be the victim of a violent crime,” Capt. Johns says.
Most violence in Pennington County has a nexus with illegal drugs. Please call to report suspected drug activity at (605) 394-2151. The Care Campus offers residential and out-patient addiction services. Call (605) 394-6128. pic.twitter.com/NLa8jmgwBW
— Pennington County SO (@PennCoSheriff) December 7, 2021
The question everyone wants answered? How do you stop it?
Pennington County Sheriff’s Office Captain Tony Harrison says, “It takes people inside the home, close family and friends to truly make a difference that cannot be us reactionary has to be them on the front end.”
“But we have to have the families and the friends and the folks who are closest to those people be the ones to say something,” Capt. Harrison says. “If this is going on in your home and you need help, you call us and oftentimes we can come and help in some form.”
Police say the conversation around crime in Rapid City also needs to change.
“I think sitting behind a keyboard banging into a Facebook post ‘it’s getting more dangerous’ is not solving the problem…becoming more involved in schools and in youth programs and mentorship programs is how you solve the problem, and that’s what I’d encourage folks to do,” Capt. Harrison adds.
To help reduce guns on the street, RCPD says gun owners should take common-sense precautions.
“Gun ownership is a responsibility; you have a responsibility to make sure that that guns stays with you and doesn’t fall into the hands of a criminal or young person on the street, and the biggest part of that is keeping it secure,” Capt. Johns says.
Guns taken from unlocked vehicles can make their way around the Midwest, where they’ve been traced to use in violent crimes.
“Our guns are going all over the region. A lot of these guns are getting stolen and then they’ll end up in Denver; they can end up in Minneapolis,” Capt. Johns adds. “They’re gone they’re…a lot of them are not sticking around the Rapid City area.”
RCPD says lock your cars, lock up your guns, and report thefts as soon as possible.