Billings saw increases in homicides, robberies, motor vehicle thefts, burglaries and larceny in 2020, which Police Chief Rich St. John attributed directly to the COVID-19 pandemic and the area's persistent meth problem, according to the department's annual crime report released Friday.
Among the most striking stats: Billings police investigated 16 criminal homicides in 2020, up from three in 2019 and more than the previous three years combined.
Robberies rose 32 percent to 138 last year, while aggravated assaults jumped more than 50 percent to 781.
On the plus side, drug offenses fell to a three-year low to 1,224 in 2020, and weapons offenses dropped over the year to 55.
Billings police responded to 96,473 calls for service in 2020, about a 2 percent increase from the previous year and a 57 percent rise over the past decade.
St. John will address the report and answer questions from the public during a Facebook Live event at 6:30 p.m. on the Billings Police Department page.