Crime was on the rise in Missoula during 2017, with felony case filings going "up significantly" according to Deputy County Attorney Jason Marks. In 2016 there were 671 new felony cases and in 2017 there were 736, an increase of just under 10 percent. Sadly, the number of child abuse and neglect cases was on the rise too, and Marks says he thinks he knows why.

"I can say anecdotally... the attorneys working on those cases will tell you that substance abuse is the driving force of a vast majority [of those crimes]," Marks said. "Especially methamphetamine, alcohol has always been an issue, but over the last several years, corresponding to an increase in methamphetamine prosecutions, we've had an increase of families really devastated by that drug."

The numbers are pretty clear that Missoula meth cases have increased significantly.

"There's just a flood of supply coming in, and that's hard to deal with from a reactive, law enforcement perspective," Marks said. "Methamphetamine cases, just going back five years to 2012: we had 47 meth cases in 2012 and in 2017 we had 130... roughly triple."

The County Attorney's office is already busy in 2018 There were 14 new felony cases handled during the first week of the new year, including some involving meth and what Marks describes as a "rash of pretty serious domestic violence cases."

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