The FBI defines violent crime as murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault and according to the uniform crime report violent crimes reported to law enforcement in the U.S. have been falling since1999. But that isn't the case in at least one KOTA Territory city.
"Crime is a social disease," said Rapid City Chief of Police Steve Allender.
One that has been spreading in Rapid City. "There's no denying it or disputing it violent crime is up since 2009," said Allender.
According to the FBI the number of reported violent crimes in Rapid City increased from 404 to 437 from 2010 to 2011. That's three fewer than in Sioux Falls and Rapid City had 56 more reported aggravated assault crimes than Sioux Falls.
"It seems like the types of assaults that we're seeing against people for instance are much more violent, we have a lot of victims who end up in the hospital needing care," said Pennington County Victim Assistance Director Sharon Callemeyn.
But not all crimes are reported. "A lot of the clients that we do serve never do report to law enforcement," Said Working Against Violence Incorporated Executive Director Mary Corbine.
WAVI serves victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and Corbine says they have seen an increase of the number of people staying in their shelter. "People who are staying in shelter fear immediate danger that is their biggest issue and that's you know well over 500 people a year coming in needing emergency shelter because they are in danger," said Corbine.
But chief Allender says most violent crimes are not committed at random in Rapid City. "It's more consistent with being in a bar, being out in a large group of people at a party, being in a gang, and that sort of thing that's where these violent crimes typically exist, many of them happen behind closed doors," said Allender.
He recommends taking preventative actions like locking your doors and being a good neighbor. "Learn one neighbor's first name and visit with them, it can make a world of difference because we really don't take care of each other," said Allender. "We go home and we pull our shades and we want to be private and we want to honor our neighbor's privacy."
Allender says the cure for crime involves the whole community.