SD Attorney General On 2015 Crime Stats: ‘We’re dealing with a methamphetamine epidemic.’

According to the state’s crime report released Friday, the number of crime related offenses increased significantly in South Dakota last year and so did the number of arrests. The Attorney General points to one main cause for the increase: meth.

More than 71,000 offenses. That’s how many crimes were committed in South Dakota 2015; a 9 percent increase from the year before.

“It’s more than we like to see,” said Marty Jackley.

According to the Attorney General, there was also a pretty significant increase in the number of arrests made last year; a little more than 40,000 compared to nearly 38,000 in 2014.

Jackley said, “Overall, compared to the national statistics, we still are a very safe place to live.”

The number of property crimes, juvenile and homicide arrests were down. However, assault, fraud, child pornography, and DUI arrests all increased.

Jackley said, “We continue as a state to struggle with what I would call the addiction crimes, those are controlled substances as well as some of the DUI offenses and and vehicular homicides tied to those offenses.”

Marty Jackley says perhaps the most significant number: the drug arrests.

“It all goes back to one thing and that’s methamphetamine,” said Jackley.

There were more than 6,800 drug arrests last year, compared to nearly 5,600 in 2014; a 22 percent increase.

“Like many states, we’re dealing with a methamphetamine epidemic. We’re seeing increased felony arrests for drug use and then increased violent crime arrests because of drugs,” said Jackley.

If we want to better protect the public, Jackley says we need to focus on prevention, treatment and reasonable enforcement.

To view the full 2015 South Dakota Crime Report, click here.