The Missoula County Attorney’s Office has finished totaling the number of criminal cases it dealt with in 2015, County Attorney Kirsten Pabst says the year was very similar to 2014.

"We filed almost 1,700 new criminal cases over the past year. We've got about that many pending and open. That rate is about the same we saw in 2014, it hasn't changed that significantly, but what we have seen change is the kind of crime and some of the motivations behind these trends."

Pabst says there were spikes in many categories of crime, including meth, child abuse, and family member assault, but said it was not easy to find big drops in other types of crime.

"We haven't been able to identify huge declines in areas, but what we are seeing is a much lower priority put on marijuana and a shift toward methamphetamine, where we are hoping we will get more bang for our buck. Meth seems to be an underlying current behind a lot of the various spikes that we are seeing, including child abuse and neglect."

Along with an intensified focus on meth cases, one of the big changes made in the County Attorney’s office last year was an increase in the number of attorney’s handling civil litigation cases and an expansion of the team that deals with Special Victims.