According to the FBI Crime Report, violent crime has doubled in the last five years in South Dakota. Both Sioux Falls and Rapid City Police gave us an idea Wednesday just how much crime is meth related. They also provided some insight on what they have to witness while on the job.
When it comes to witnessing the devastating effects of meth, Rapid City's Police Chief says nothing hits his officers harder.
Chief Karl Jegeris said, "Can you imagine that we have children that are born, that are born under the influence of methamphetamine and their first few days they are detoxifying?"
Jegeris says they used to respond to one or two cases a year. Now it's once or twice a month. Sioux Falls Police Chief Matt Burns says they've encountered children in dire situations while serving search warrants.
"I've seen reports and talked to investigators where a toddler was walking around and had chemical burns on their feet," said Burns. "We've seen young children hoarding food in their rooms because they didn't know when their next meal was coming."
Both chiefs say the problem is only getting worse. They're making more meth related arrests and seizing more meth than ever. This year, through the the month of August, Sioux Falls Police have recovered 29 pounds of meth, nearly triple the amount seized last year. They've arrested 651 people so far this year compared to 770 in all of 2015.
"Over 50 percent of our crime, our robberies, our burglaries, we can attribute to methamphetamine and we suspect it's much higher than that," Burns said.
One statistic has shown improvement though. That's the number of drug labs seized from 15 in 2014 to only 2 in 2015 and none so far this year. But police say it's not necessarily a good thing.
Burns said, "They're only going down because of the huge amounts of I guess corporate meth or super labs coming in and that's the problem."
Police say there's one to two doses in each gram of meth, which costs about $80 to $100. They say the high lasts about 12 hours.
Both chiefs say Senate Bill 70, which is aimed at keeping non-violent drug offenders out of jail, has it's merits. However, they say there needs to be more accountability and more resources to keep them from re-offending. They hope to see the issue addressed this upcoming legislative session.