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That was down to 79% in 2023. However, the number of search warrants executed by the narcotics team rose from 138 to 198 and the number of firearms they seized went up from 26 to 54. Mueller said the sheriff’s office is looking into other ways to help solve the problem.

By The Numbers: Pennington County crime report released

PENNINGTON COUNTY, S.D. – Statewide, 2023 saw more than a 2% drop in crime compared to 2022. According to the Attorney General’s state crime report, homicides, aggravated assaults, and drug offenses all dropped.

The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office’s crime numbers from 2023 are also out, and while there were a few areas where the numbers decreased, there are also some areas where the calls for service increased.

According to Pennington County Sheriff Brian Mueller, local crime statistics have continued to drop since the pandemic. “We had a spike in 2019 and in 2020, a lot of our violent crime, not just in Rapid City, but also Pennington County-wide. A lot of those numbers are continuing to drop or level off.”

Meth arrests made up 80% of the county’s drug arrests in 2022. That was down to 79% in 2023. However, the number of search warrants executed by the narcotics team rose from 138 to 198 and the number of firearms they seized went up from 26 to 54. Mueller said the sheriff’s office is looking into other ways to help solve the problem.

State-funded opioid grants have allowed law enforcement agencies in Rapid City and Pennington County to move forward with projects that Mueller says show a lot of promise.  “They’re working closely with law enforcement, specifically partnering together on how to connect people who might be addicted to opioids in with services in the community, versus just handling it through law enforcement and the criminal justice system which we know by itself has not been super successful.”

Sheriff Mueller said his first year in office has been gratifying and he’s looking forward to next year, where he hopes to focus more on staff recruitment and retention, as well as pay and benefits. “We have to stay competitive,” he observed.

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