- Associated Press - Friday, January 29, 2016

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - Illegal drug use is fueling a rise in violent crime in Rapid City, 2015 crime statistics indicate.

Substantial jumps in the number of robberies and murders in the city last year can be linked to a corresponding rise in drug arrests, which increased for the fifth straight year, Police Chief Karl Jegeris told the Rapid City Journal (http://bit.ly/20vc4Yc ).

For the third straight year, arrests for drug violations outnumbered those for drunken driving. Drug-related arrests rose 3 percent to 1,349. That is more than double the number of arrests five years earlier, the report shows.

“Most if not all of our violent crime has a nexus to our drug use,” Jegeris said.

There were seven murders in Rapid City last year, more than double the recent annual average of three. Three of the 2015 slayings remain unsolved.

Robberies increased nearly 29 percent from 2014 to 76 last year, including a string of holdups at casinos and convenience stores over the last seven months of the year.

“People involved with illegal drugs need quick money at times,” Jegeris said. “They view casinos and convenience stores as an opportunity.”

Rapid City police officers responded to a record 127,712 calls for service overall, up nearly 8 percent from 2014.

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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