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Crime on the rise in N.D.?

By Staff | Aug 2, 2013

North Dakota, as a whole, seems like a safe state. That’s not to say that crime doesn’t happen. Periodically, the “if it bleeds, it leads” media will talk about someone being arrested or wanted for an assault, a stabbing, a shooting, or even a murder. (Unless of course there was an accident that literally just happened before 6 or 10 o’clock, then that may go first.)

In the Police Report in last week’s issue of the Pierce County Tribune there were five arrests: two were cases involving minors, one for driving under suspicion, one for theft, and one for “terrorizing”. But that seems paltry compared to horror stories some may tell about towns in the west/oil patch, doesn’t it?

Recently, the N.D. Attorney General’s office released crime statistics for 2012, which were compiled from reports made statewide by local law enforcement agencies, and it shows that crime, statewide, has increased somewhat.

The statistics show that North Dakota has a crime rate of 2124.8 per 100,000, which is a low crime rate. When adjusted for the, as the document calls it, “temporary population” in the oil patch, the rate is actually 2055 per 100,000.

To put it succinctly, 90.2% of the crimes reported in 2012 were against property, while the other 9.8% were violent crimes.

The release breaks it down further. Of the 9.8%, homicide made up 0.1% of the total crime index, while violent crimes increased by 7.2% and reported aggravated assaults increased by 3% (1% in the oil patch).

Speaking of property crimes, burglaries decreased by 1.2%, while motor vehicle thefts increased by 20.7%. More than $22.2 million in property was stolen.

Statistics were also released on drug and alcohol offenses, which technically aren’t a part of the total crime index. DUI (driving under the influence) arrests increased by 10.9% in 2012, and those arrests accounted for 27% of adults arrested in 2012.

The statistics also said that juveniles accounted for 17% of all arrests and 24.8% of crime index offense arrests.

(Source: 7/30/13 News Release-Office of Attorney General)


Is it fair to say that crime in our state is going up? Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said in the news release that “It is a concern that crime is up in every category”, but that doesn’t mean that civilization is breaking down. (At least I hope it’s not.) Our state has one of the lowest crime rates in the nation, although it could always be lower.

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