Rapid City Police Chief: Violent crime "off the charts" in Rapid - KOTA Territory News

Rapid City Police Chief: Violent crime "off the charts" in Rapid City

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In 2010, the Rapid City Police Department took note of more violent crime, and by 2011 those numbers were significantly higher.  Local police were handling more actual incidents of assault than in Sioux Falls, a city with a population more than twice that of Rapid City.

While the rate of violent crime in the rest of the country is diminishing, the opposite is true in Rapid City.  "We're talking about baseball bats and knives, being stomped on repeatedly," Rapid City Chief of Police Steve Allender explained.

In 2005, there were 160 aggravated assaults in Rapid City. In 2012 that number jumped to 207, a 29% increase. The same is true with rape.  The rate is nearly twice what it was in 2005, with 102 incidents.

Mary Corbine, Executive Director of Working Against Violence Inc. (WAVI),says their sexual assault caseload also is up.  "We have had an almost 30 percent increase in the number of sexual assault clients we saw, that's just who reported," Corbine said.

In the next few weeks, police administrators will be taking a closer look at the trends. "We're trying to find out exactly what's going on and where to focus our attention," Chief Allender said.

Police already know that a very high percentage of crimes are interracial. "Native American suspects assaulting Native American victims, white suspects assaulting white victims," Chief Allender said.

Police also say Native Americans are over-represented in the crime stats.

Despite the disturbing trend, Allender says Rapid City is still a safe place. "Your chance of walking down the street and being assaulted is still very unlikely in Rapid City," he added.

"It's time for us to be alarmed - it's time for us to find a solution to the problem."

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