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Junge: Crime up ‘dramatically’ in McLeod County

Crime is up in McLeod County, particularly in regard to drug-related crimes and child protection issues, the McLeod County Board heard at its Tuesday morning meeting.
McLeod County Attorney Mike Junge presented his 2017 report to the county board.
“Criminal activity is not decreasing; in fact, it is increasing dramatically,” said Junge. The attorney’s office charged 508 felony or gross misdemeanor crimes in 2017, up by nearly 200 over the 2016 total of 323, and 711 misdemeanor and petty misdemeanor charges, up from 506 in 2016.
And most of that, Junge said, is drug-related. In fact, of the 508 felony and gross misdemeanor charges, 129 were drug offenses, and another 81 were driving while impaired offenses.
The increase in drug charges also correlates to increases in aggravated assaults and assaults. In two cases, Junge said drug deals went bad — those buying drugs decided not to pay for them and, instead, either assaulted the dealers or threatened them with weapons.
Repeat DWI offenses also have increased dramatically, said Junge, although fewer first-time offenses are down. But those repeat offenders “have extraordinarily high blood alcohol levels.” And more are hitting the felony level of offense, meaning they have either had more than three DWI convictions, or have a prior conviction for a DWI that resulted in injury or death.
“I’ve always said that most of our crimes involve drugs, sex, booze or gambling, and that still holds true,” said Junge. In particular, he added, when it comes to drugs and booze.
“There is no shortage of drugs in our county, and no shortage of the damage they do,” said Junge.
For more about the annual report from the county attorney, see the April 18 print edition of The Chronicle.