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Safety discussed in wake of Sioux Falls homicide

SIOUX FALLS (AP) — Residents want to boost safety in their Sioux Falls neighborhood after a woman was killed there.

A Monday night meeting of the Garfield Neighborhood Watch program that was organized just a year ago drew about 50 people — twice the normal turnout.

"We need to stand up and say, 'This is our neighborhood. We're going to keep it safe,'" watch coordinator Jolynn Peterson said.

Authorities are still seeking a suspect in the March 15 death of Kari Ann Kirkegaard, 56. Her family said she was found dead in her bathtub with the water running the next day.

Police believe a person captured by a nearby business security camera took Kirkegaard's vehicle from her home, drove it and later returned it to the area. They have asked for the public's help in identifying the suspect.

Despite the unease, most of Monday night's meeting focused on day-to-day concerns such as problems with speeding on residential streets and strangers loitering at night. A project already planned will put up dozens of new street lights in the neighborhood this spring.

Resident Ruth Malloy said she had hoped police would give an update on the Kirkegaard investigation at Monday's meeting but that "they didn't tell us anything, really."

Berdyne Bosler, who has lived in the area since 1974, said she has always felt safe because of her neighbors.

"They seem to care. The neighborhood is very friendly, and this thing that happened near our house, that was a shock," Bosler said.

Police Officer Chris Schoepf, who attended the meeting, said residents care about the safety of the neighborhood and have been successful for the most part.

"This neighborhood has been really great on calling stuff in ... to me, it's a low-crime neighborhood," he said.