The Missoula County Attorney’s Office filed 14 new criminal complaints this week, which is four more than last week. On Friday, Chief Deputy County Attorney Matt Jennings appeared on KGVO’s Talk Back show and provided the following report.

“Of that 14, four were violent crimes,” Jennings said. “One was an endangerment crime and these usually involve things like drinking and driving or putting other people at risk. We had four property crimes and all of those were thefts this week. We had five drug crimes. As usual, drugs do continue to be a common theme in most of the criminal activity we see in Missoula County.”

In 2021, Jennings said there was a rapid escalation in criminal activity here in Missoula. He was asked how much the COVID-19 pandemic impacted crime numbers last year.

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“I think people are trying to figure that out not only here, but everywhere in America right now,” Jennings said. “Obviously, I think that was part of it. There were a lot of stressors placed on people over the past couple of years like the anxiety of COVID-19, the economic disruption, job changes or losses, people being cooped up, and being disengaged from normal social activities that are a healthy outlet for people. I think when people lost some of those healthy outlets, maybe they were turning to some unhealthy things and engaging in more drug use and alcohol. Other frustrations either in their relationships, or with neighbors, or things like road rage were really coming to the forefront that we hadn’t quite seen for some time.”

According to Jennings, the Missoula County Attorney’s Office continues to have a lot of trials.

“Back in 2019, we were really only having a trial maybe once a month or every couple of months,” Jennings said. “We are now having a jury trial almost every two weeks and sometimes every week. In the next few months, we do have a couple of the major homicides that occurred last year that are currently scheduled for trial.”

Jennings said homicide trials often get moved, but some of those are coming up soon. You can listen to Jennings’ full report below:

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