VANDERBURGH CO., Ind. (WEHT) — Over the last 18 months, Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding says crime has been on a substantial increase throughout the county and Evansville.

As violent crimes increase, so have barricade situations, better known as standoffs. An increase that Sheriff Wedding says not only puts law enforcement at risk, but also the community.

“We’ve seen a tremendous uptick in violent crimes and people resisting law enforcement in Evansville, Vanderburgh County,” Sheriff Wedding says. “We’ve had five deputy involved shootings. Our deputies have been shot at multiple times throughout these shootings.”

Dr. Matt Powless, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Southern Indiana, says many situations involving crime can stem from drug abuse.

“When you have folks that are addicted or actively abusing substances, they’re certainly going to make decisions that they otherwise wouldn’t have,” Dr. Powless said.

He adds that whether children just observe what’s going on in their community or they are a witness to crimes first hand, it can have a lasting impact on their future.

“Either abusive or neglectful or just harmful situations that they are in and their exposure to them – how does that correlate to mental health outcomes in adulthood,” Dr. Powless said. “In general the relationship is the more adverse child or adverse childhood experiences you have, the more at risk you are for these mental health disorders.”

In 42 years of working with the sheriff’s office, Sheriff Wedding says he’s never seem crime on this much of a consistent basis.

“Generally we may have an officer involved shooting or real violent scenario maybe once every five years or so but now it’s more like five times in a year so it’s really changed the number of times we’ve met violent resistance,” Sheriff Wedding said.