Summer of Violence in Billings - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Summer of Violence in Billings

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Has there been an increase of violent crimes in Billings? Many people seem to think so. But the answer seems to be yes and no.

Chief Rich St. John says it's the most violent Summer he's seen in years. But that doesn't mean Billings is more violent. If you take a step back and look at the big picture, not just the Summer, the statistics may surprise us.

"This has been the most violent and busiest summer that we've had at the police department since I've been here," says St. John.

In the three months of Summer, Billings Police saw a rapid increase in violent crimes against people, specifically robberies and aggravated assaults. But does that mean violent crime is actually on the rise in the Magic City?

"When we take a step back and look at the big picture as how we're lining up comparing 2012 to 2013, we're right on par with that," says St. John.

Statistics from January to October of 2012 compared to the same time this year show an increase of only 6% for violent crimes against people. Aggravated assault crimes are up 28%, but rapes and sexual assaults are actually down 8%. It's something that surprises many, especially following a Summer when a serial rapist was on the loose.

"I think we had deterrence because the awareness was raised across the board and in turn, you can see the results of that," says St. John.

And though violent crimes against people are about where they were this time last year, Chief St. John says to stay alert, and don't let yourself be a victim.

"Make sure your people know where you're going. Be secure. Don't walk in dark alleys. Just don't put yourself in a position where you're going to be victimized."