Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst completed the 2018 annual report on Tuesday and there were several hundred more crimes than in 2017.

“The overall crime rate for Missoula was up, and we filed several hundred more cases than we ever have before,” said Pabst. “About 30 of those were felonies, while the rest were misdemeanors. Interpersonal violence, or as we say family or partner member assault was up and it is very concerning. At this point we would consider that a public health threat. One of the leading causes of death for women in this country is homicide, so that’s obviously an area where we are responding with the utmost care.”

Aside from incarceration, Pabst said there are other areas where numbers are up.

“Our mental health commitments are significantly up, we filed 300 involuntary commitments this year, and that’s 25 percent more than we filed last year,” she said. “There is a little bit of good news in that our dependent neglect cases which we’ve seen increase steadily since 2007, for the first time this year it was down.”

Pabst said the felony charges filed were much higher.

“In 2018 we filed 764 felonies,” she said. “27 percent of those were crimes against people or violent crimes.”

Pabst said the greatest challenge her office faces in the new year involve drugs and drug treatment for offenders.

“I would say our greatest challenges at this point are chemical dependency addiction and located adequate treatment for those who are struggling with addiction,” she said. “Those drug addictions cause cascading effects into every other area of the criminal justice system, mental health, dependent neglect, and the foster care system. More mental health services for folks who fall into that category are needed. Our community if light years ahead of many others, but we can always use more services to keep people at a functioning level so that we don’t have to intervene with the legal system.”

Victim Witness Coordinator Cathy Dorle from the County Attorney’s office was selected from a pool of over 800 full time employees as Missoula County's Employee of the Year.