VIGO COUNTY, IND. (WTHI) -- Serious crimes are rising significantly throughout the Wabash Valley. In Vigo County, local law enforcement says felony cases are nearly double from what they were in 2018. This includes homicides, criminal battery and assault, arson, burglary, and robbery. Additionally, they say both drug cases and domestic violence are seeing a significant uptick.
"There are so many violent things happening to people," Sheriff John Plasse, the Vigo County Sheriff, said. "It's very troubling."
In 2018, the Vigo County Prosecutor's Office reported 287 felonies. In 2020, this number increased to 468 total felonies. Some of the fastest rising felonies in the area are criminal battery and burglary. In 2018, there were 16 reported battery cases. In 2020, this number increased to 45. Additionally, officials say in 2018 there were 159 burglaries. However, in 2020, this number rose to 252 burglaries.
"All we can do is look at statistics, and it looks like up to the last four years crime continues to be on the rise," Terry Modesitt, a Vigo County Prosecutor, said.
Local law enforcement says there is no clear answer to why they are increasing so much, but there are a few factors that contribute to this ongoing problem.
"Obviously, we feel like COVID-19 has some effect on all of this," Modesitt said. "Also, I think law enforcement is doing a better job at investigating cases and making arrests."
Modesitt says another factor may have to do with changes in family life.
"I think it comes back to the same old thing that parents got to start being parents again. We got to get the family back together where there are rules and parents bring their kids up-right. We need to get involved with the young kids at an earlier age as far as mentoring and things like that to keep them on the right track."
Unfortunately, officials say this problem may only get worse.
"We usually have a spike when the weather gets better, Sheriff Plasse said. "This is early June, unfortunately, so if we are seeing that now I can't see it going down anytime soon until the Fall."
To help keep crime levels down, law enforcement is encouraging community members to continue to speak up if they see something suspicious.
"Our community is great," Sheriff Plasse said. "They're our eyes and ears. They do a tremendous job at reporting things, so I just ask that they continue to do that."