The Missoula County Attorney’s filed only five new felony cases last week, which was the lowest amount so far this year. However, this week returned to normal. Chief Deputy County Attorney Matt Jennings explains.

“This week we are back up to an average of about 15 cases,” Jennings said. “We are always looking for trends, patterns, and reasons why that might occur, but we are often left scratching our heads. I am not sure. Of the 15 this week, we had seven violent crimes. We had three endangerment crimes and those often involve some sort of driving behavior or drinking and driving. We had one property crime charged and three drug crimes. Again, those usually involve meth or heroin in our community. We also had one administrative crime.”

According to Jennings, animal cruelty cases have been put in that administrative crime category.

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“Unfortunately, we have been seeing a pattern of a lot of animal cruelty cases recently and that is something we have been looking in to,” Jennings said. “We try to understand some of the reasons why. These seem to be cases that really tug at our heartstrings. I think we all love our animals. We recognize that they are vulnerable and innocent. It disturbs us greatly when animals get hurt, abused, or neglected. We have been seeing a little bit of an uptick. I hope that backs off and people care for their animals and their human loved ones as well.”

Jennings was asked about the homeless population in Missoula and if there were any statistics about their criminal activity.

“It is true that one of the elements we see in criminal behavior is often instability in someone’s life,” Jennings said. “They are either housing insecure, don’t have a job, or don’t have family connections here. Those do seem to be relatively consistent patterns with people getting into trouble. We do see that when people have a place to be or more stability, and they are not just sitting downtown or camping by the river, it often ends up helping.”

You can listen to Jennings full report below:

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