Opioid epidemic blamed for crime increase in Waukesha

NOW: Opioid epidemic blamed for crime increase in Waukesha

WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) – Waukesha police collected their crime data from 2017 which shows an increase in incidents.

According to their numbers, armed robberies doubled in 2017 for the City of Waukesha, and they say these all trickle down to one major root problem, opioids.

In 2017, the city had 16 reported armed robberies, compared to the 6 reported in 2016.

“We had four that were at a gas station, four that were residential, and two that were at chain stores,” says Lieutenant Jerry Habanek.

The other six cases happened in parking lots and even at ATM’s.

Habanek works in the criminal investigation division overlooking these cases. He says he’s seeing the effects these crimes are having in society.

“I looked at those statistics and the majority of them, almost all of them, involved people that were using or addicted to opioids,” says Habanek.

The opioid epidemic is what the department says is the root cause of the spike.

“The people that are using drugs aren’t able to get jobs and it’s kind of what you’re left with,” explains Habanek. “This is the type of reality you’re left with. You have to generate money, you have to pay bills.”

Take for instance the case of Anthony De Leon, accused of robbing two gas stations in February of 2017 in Waukesha. He later admitted to police he committed the crime to buy heroin and cocaine.

“We’re doing whatever we can to enforce laws, to try to curve the opioid epidemic,” says Habanek.

The department says they’re working closely with the Attorney General in the growing problem .But they’re also asking for the public’s help.

“Think of buying personal cameras and placing them on your property or your car so you can get a clear image of the person.”

Of those 16 robberies, police have made arrests in 12 of them like the De Leon case.

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