Police in Rapid City noticed violent crime was going up. In February they expanded their street crimes unit, but is the new approach working?
Alice McCoy has spent the majority of her life in north Rapid. She says the crime used to be a lot worse.
"They are catching them more. And so eventually it will get better. Because once they get the criminals off the street there is less crime," said McCoy.
McCoy is president of the North Rapid Civic Association and also part of the Neighborhood Watch. She says, in the past it was unsafe to go out at night.
"Just in this area right here, it used to be that you couldn't walk the street and now we have a lot of walkers at night," said McCoy.
McCoy said the increased police presence helps.
"We adjusted our street crimes strategy. We increased the size of our street crimes unit and have been focusing on our neighborhood areas, most of which are north Rapid," said Assistant Chief Karl Jegeris, of the Rapid City Police Department.
Officers working the day were moved to night to concentrate on the north Rapid area. They do a lot of traffic stops
"If we arrest people for lower level crimes before the serious violent crime then we'll decrease the amount of serious violent crime we have," said Jegeris.
In the first half of last year, there were 96 aggravated assaults. This year, the number climbed to 134; with 21 in June.
"It is too early to tell but so far we're still concerned with the level of violent crime that we've got in our community," said Jegeris.
McCoy said it's important for people in the neighborhood to report suspicious behavior.
"The police can't be everywhere and so when they know that something is going on that shouldn't be then call them so they can get here and take care of it," she said.