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Local crime getting back to normal levels after COVID slump

Brad Williams

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It may be hard to think of positive things which have resulted from the COVID pandemic, but a decline in serious crime appears to be one positive result. 

La Crosse County D-A Tim Gruenke says few major crimes happened in March and April, with bars and other businesses closed. 

State court records show a total of only 92 felony cases were filed in the county in those two months, about half of the total from the 1st two months of 2020. 

Gruenke says the crime rate now seems to be back to normal, and tells us it was nice to have a ‘respite’ during the early months of the outbreak, but no one expected it to last.          

The county recorded its 700th felony case of 2020 last week…a mark that was reached in August a year ago, and in July of 2018.

During the early years of Oktoberfest in La Crosse, the county jail would fill up quickly on fest weekend, with dozens of people being arrested for public drinking or being disorderly. 

As of Sunday afternoon, during the weekend which would have been Oktoberfest 2020, a handful of people had been jailed in La Crosse County since Friday. 

District attorney Gruenke says Oktoberfest does not get as rowdy as people think.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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