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Pine Ridge reservation sees spike in homicides

PINE RIDGE (AP) -- FBI data shows homicides on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation nearly doubled in 2016 from the previous year. Police officers are also worried after seeing that five of the 17 homicides last year involved firearms, while there w...

PINE RIDGE (AP) - FBI data shows homicides on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation nearly doubled in 2016 from the previous year.

Police officers are also worried after seeing that five of the 17 homicides last year involved firearms, while there were no firearm-related killings the year before, the Rapid City Journal reported.

FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Robert Perry said the spike in killings is linked to an increased use of illegal drugs, specifically methamphetamine. Rapid City Police Chief Karl Jegeris also pointed to meth as a reason for the recent rise of violent crimes in his city.

Perry, who supervises South Dakota and North Dakota FBI offices, said the drugs on Pine come from outside places such as Denver.

"When you're in that drug trade, when there's money involved, you feel the need to protect your product, to protect yourself, and that's why I believe there's more guns involved," he said.

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Perry said there has not been a significant homicide spike in the eight other reservations in South Dakota, or those in North Dakota.

"They all still continue to have homicides, and there may be little fluctuations, but not as pronounced as what we've seen in Pine Ridge," he said. He explained that another factor could be that Pine Ridge is closer to urban areas that tend to be sources of meth, such as Rapid City.

 

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