Community reacts to Rapid City's record violence

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Rapid City, SD It has been a violent year in Rapid City, and a murder on Tuesday brings the homicide rate to a 20–year high.

The startling statistic is creating concern for some in the community.

It's a shocking number – seven murders in the past year.

That's a 20–year record – leaving some in the community on edge.

Rapid City resident Wayne Andrews said, "I considered Rapid City a safe quiet town, but it doesn't seem to be that way anymore."

Wayne Andrews moved to Rapid City from Miami – and he's not the only one worried.

Jennifer Young has been here less than a year – caring for her aging father.

Young said, "We're always concerned for the safety and wellbeing of our family members. Yeah, that's important to me."

But not everyone feels the same.

Rapid City resident Barbara Vanekeren said, "It's not right. But, you know what – they were probably out doing something they shouldn't have been doing anyway."

Barbara Vanekeren has seen her share of crime while working with the Sheriff's Office.

Vanekeren said, "Life just happens. It just happens."

Four of the seven murders have struck in the past few months, but only three are still under investigation.

And the Rapid City Police Department's top priority is solving them.

Captain James Johns, with Rapid City Police Department's Criminal Investigations, said, "It's definitely taken its toll on the police department, and it's spreading our resources thin."

Five of the murder victims were Native American, but as of right now, it appears none of the homicides are connected.

Johns said "A lot of these crimes are simple crimes of opportunity or something that happens at a specific spot – but there's nothing to indicate that they're related in any fashion."

Officials say most of these crimes are not random and it shouldn't stop the community from their day–to–day routines.

Johns said "You have to keep in mind – enjoy life. You're more likely to be murdered or assaulted by somebody that you know."

Tips can always be sent anonymously by texting RCPD to 847–411.

Or you can call 394–4134.