“We’ve exhausted essentially every tool we have at our disposal:” How Rapid City officials are trying to reverse the trend of crime in the Surfwood and Maple area
Officials are set on reversing the trend of rising crime in the area.
“It’s just been so frustrating and so demoralizing for the residents and for the police officers and for citizens at large to keep reading about this,” Mayor Steve Allender of Rapid City said. “The body count going up in our town, in our community, those things are damaging to Rapid City’s reputation. So I just want the community to know what we’re doing, and I want the community to acknowledge that we can do this together. We can work together to get this done. Believe me, no amount of criticism is going to make us do a better job, because we are literally doing everything.”
Photos of different crimes in the Surfwood and Maple area:
Mayor Steve Allender says that the Rapid City Police Department has increased manpower, hired more employees.
The department spends roughly 5% of its annual budget dealing with the small area of town.
“So we’ve had police officers in the parking lot when shootings have occurred. They’ve heard the shots. And a SWAT team was assembling and preparing to go serve warrants in that area when shots were heard. It’s just a very troubled neighborhood. We’ve literally, at this point, tried everything we know of. And so, obviously we need to try a different route,” Allender said.
Allender says that seeing more deaths in the Surfwood and Maple area can be demoralizing for city residents and officers. It also damages the city’s reputation.
Cooperation in solving crimes is often lacking.
“There’s a lot of enabling behavior going on at these apartment complexes in the name of family or friendship or some other loyalty. As a result, the quality of life and the living standard in that neighborhood is declining rapidly. That’s the problem,” Allender said. “The problem is if you force people to live in an environment, unsuitable for animals, pretty soon you’re going to get behavior that will match that environment. Environment is really everything. That’s where we need the property management mangers and the owners to step up and invest into this thing and take this seriously.”
Following the latest homicide, Rapid City’s Police Chief Don Hedrick asked the community to come together and to reach out when necessary.
More from Mayor Allender below.
Mayor Allender on the area over the years:
Allender formerly served in the RCPD for 29 years, eventually becoming chief. Then in 2015, he was elected as mayor.
Potential problem in the area:
Allender says that a major issue is the apartment complexes in the area and that the property managers and owners need to invest and improve where they can.
How the community can help: