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In 2016, police calls originating from downtown Rapid City comprised less than one percent of police calls citywide.
In 2016, police calls originating from downtown Rapid City comprised less than one percent of police calls citywide.
Black Hills Knowledge Network photo
February 2, 2017

Downtown Accounts for Small Percent of Total Police Calls in Rapid City, but Alcohol and Panhandling Calls Are on the Rise

Police calls for public intoxication and panhandling have increased significantly downtown over the last two years, but on the whole the downtown area accounts for less than one percent of all officer- and citizen-initiated calls for service in Rapid City, according to data recently provided by the Rapid City Police Department (RCPD).*

In 2016, there were 1002 calls for service, initiated by an officer or citizen, in downtown Rapid City, according to the RCPD’s Calls for Service Report for Downtown Rapid City. By comparison, there were over 123,261 calls for service across Rapid City during the same time period, according to the department’s 2016 annual crime report

The chart below shows the number of calls from downtown Rapid City versus calls across the city over the past three years: 

  2014 2015 2016
Calls for Service in Downtown Rapid City 881 1017 1002
Calls for Service Citywide 118,143 126,540 123,261
Percentage of Downtown Calls out of Total Rapid City Calls 0.75 0.80 0.81

Downtown also saw significantly fewer major crimes than Rapid City as a whole in 2016. Citywide, there were 142 calls for service for sexual assault and 84 calls for robbery, while there were less than five calls for sexual assault and no calls for robbery in the downtown area. There were just two calls for aggravated assault downtown over the same time period, while there were 210 aggravated assault calls across Rapid City.

The RCPD data shows that police calls downtown increased by 15.4 percent in 2015, primarily due to increases in public intoxication and open containers, public disturbances, panhandling, assault, and theft activity downtown.

The total number of police calls downtown dropped 1.5 percent in 2016, although the area did experience a continuing increase in calls for service for intoxication and open containers, assault and panhandling over the last year. The area also had a significant increase in calls for suspicious persons. Meanwhile, calls related to alarms, drugs, suspicious persons and sexual assault ticked up in 2016, while public disturbances and theft declined.

Over the last two years, calls for service related to open container and panhandling have risen significantly downtown. In 2016, RCPD received 105 calls for service for public intoxication downtown, compared to just over 60 in 2014. Calls for panhandling also increased, with 35 total calls for service in 2016 compared to 10 in 2014. Over the same time period, police transports to detox facilities have risen 16 percent, while arrests are up 14 percent.

The most calls for service in the downtown area were seen from noon until 7:00 p.m., with approximately 425 calls for service in 2016, compared to approximately 460 calls in 2015. The period from 6:00 a.m. until noon was the second most popular time for calls for service, landing at approximately 225 calls in both 2016 and 2015. The least amount of calls for service were received from midnight until 6:00 a.m., with about 170 reported calls in 2016, up from approximately 75 calls in 2015.

For more information and data on crime in Rapid City, visit the Rapid City Police Department's Stats, Reports and Forms webpage

*The Rapid City Police Department defines downtown Rapid City as the area between Fifth Street to the east, Mount Rushmore Road to the west, Kansas City Street to the south and Omaha Street to the north. 


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