What Is behind the Increase in Crime in Sioux Falls?
I think almost every Sioux Falls citizen will agree to at least some degree that crime is becoming an increasing problem here in the Sioux Empire.
Sioux Falls has seen four homicides alone in the last five weeks.
Despite the uptick in crime in the area, city officials, including the mayor, and top law enforcement officials like the sheriff, and the police chief all insist the city remains a safe place to live. While statistically, that's true, there is no denying the crime arrow is trending in the wrong direction in Sioux Falls.
So what are the driving factors behind the increase in crime in the community?
All three men laid out an explanation for that during a special press conference to address those issues on Monday (September 19).
As Dakota News Now reports, the common theme inside all the various statistics regarding major crimes being committed in the area over the last three years can be traced to three things, guns, drugs, and lax parole laws.
Mayor TenHaken told Dakota News Now, “Many of the crime issues that we are seeing in our community, especially over the last several years, have been really cyclical.”
For example, in the case of recent homicides in the city, and one of the most recent officer-involved shootings TenHaken said all the people responsible were repeat offenders.
When it comes to gun-related crime...
Both the mayor and the sheriff agree, that the great majority of the violent crimes being committed in the city with firearms are being done by criminals who have obtained these firearms illegally.
Both men urged law-abiding firearm owners who choose to carry guns in their cars to always remember to always lock their vehicles. Statistics continue to show that guns are typically the number one thing stolen out of unlocked cars.
When it comes to drugs...
Sheriff Milstead told Dakota News Now, that the number one problem continues to be the influx of illegal substances pouring into the country via Mexican drug cartels over the U.S. southern border.
A large number of violent criminals in this area are former inmates who are drug addicts, according to Milstead. He believes a way to help curb their drug addiction while incarcerated is to develop a centralized, in-custody, in-patient treatment center for individuals in prison or jail.
Then there's the issue of a lax parole system.
Milstead told Dakota News Now that he believes we need to revisit the current parole laws in the state. Many of the people who have committed crimes that are being released into Sioux Falls did not commit the crime in this area. Instead, they came from a smaller community where parole services are not available.
A possible solution to that problem would be to release the person back into the county where they committed the crime. That method is being done in several other states.
Regardless of what tweaks are eventually made to the current South Dakota system, Milstead is not a proponent of keeping jail numbers down.
As Milstead told Dakota News Now, “My duties (are) preservation of peace and the protection of life and property. My goal is to keep as many people in jail as we need to, to keep our communities safe. That’s my goal. If we can safely reduce jail numbers, I’m okay with that. I’m all for looking at options to safely reduce jail numbers. But I am not a supporter of judging justice reform by counting how many people are in jail today or tomorrow.”
Both TenHaken and Milstead believe another way to help keep the community of Sioux Falls safer is to explore the idea of building a new larger state penitentiary.
That however will be spendy. Estimates range anywhere from $65 million to $100 million dollars to build a more modernized facility capable of holding more inmates.
Police Chief Jon Thum told Dakota News Now, that he is a proponent of getting everyday people to help get ahead of these issues by being mentors to young people before they have a chance to commit crimes.
Regardless of what paths are eventually taken in the future, there will be further discussion once again when all three men meet with the media during their annual public safety briefing that is held every February.
Source: Dakota News Now
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