Standing Rock Sioux Reservation sees crime return
Crime is returning to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota and South Dakota now that the Bureau of Indian Affairs has reduced its law enforcement presence, tribal leaders and other say.

As part of Operation Dakota Peacekeeper, the BIA had up to 37 police officers on the reservation. But most of them were gone by the end of last year.

"Tribes like this have the highest rates of crime as anywhere in the nation, and the biggest deficits in terms of law enforcement," said Sen. John Thune (R-South Dakota), The Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported. "Why is the BIA not allocating more resources to this part of the country if this is where their biggest problems are?"

Since the start of 2009, there have been nine suicides on the reservation and 50 suicide attempts. A local official said drug dealers are once again targeting reservation youth.

"I can look out my door and see it happening," Arnold Schott, the mayor of McLaughlin, told the paper. "It's our little kids, 8, 9 and 10 or younger, that are being approached."

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee held a field hearing on the reservation last week to discuss the issue.

Get the Story:
Thune questions BIA influence on suicides (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 7/5)

Committee Hearing:
FIELD HEARING to Examine Lessons Learned from Operation Dakota Peacekeeper (July 1, 2009)

Related Stories:
Hearing focuses on Standing Rock public safety (7/2)
Witness list for Senate Indian Affairs field hearing (7/1)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee field hearing (6/29)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe loses police officers (6/26)