The Missoula County Attorney’s Office charged 16 new cases this week, which is three more than last week and slightly above normal. On Friday’s Talk Back show, Chief Deputy County Attorney Matt Jennings provided their weekly report. 

“Most of these are pretty serious offenses,” Jennings said. “We are seeing the proportion of violent offenses be a lot greater compared to property crimes. Out of the 16 offenses that were charged, eight of them were violent crimes. Two of those were family violence, five of them were non-family violence or robbery, and there was one sex assault case that we charged this week.” 

According to Jennings, another trend they have been seeing is the influence of meth on criminal behavior in Missoula. 

“Of the 16 cases that we charged this week, eight of them were directly tied to methamphetamine use, and probably a few others were as well, but it wasn’t as evident through the investigation,” Jennings said. “We know in our community that hard drug use is one of the best indicators of future criminal behavior and it is one of the things we try to take seriously. We try to get the person who is addicted some help, and treatment and avoid those criminal offenses going forward. But we also hold them accountable when they do commit crimes.” 

In addition, Jennings said there were four endangerment crimes this week and those usually involve driving behavior.  

“Not long ago, we used to have sort of a stereotypical DUI where somebody had too much to drink and maybe their headlights weren't on and they got pulled over, but a lot of the endangerment crimes that we are seeing recently are really egregious driving behavior, like driving the wrong way on the interstate or getting in a high-speed chase,” Jennings said. “Most of these endangerment crimes do ultimately involve driving while under the influence of alcohol or another substance, but it is a step further than that. It is not just a substance use issue; it is very dangerous behavior.” 

You can listen to Jennings’ full report below:

For an in-depth look at some of the crime stories this week, click here.

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