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Published April 02, 2012, 07:14 PM

GF Police Report Drop in Crime Over Decade

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - New statistics show that overall crime has dropped in Grand Forks over the past decade. Police released their annual crime numbers on Monday.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - New statistics show that overall crime has dropped in Grand Forks over the past decade. Police released their annual crime numbers on Monday.

Law enforcement is not taking all the credit. They say community programs are preventing many of the crimes.

Calls for service to the Grand Forks Police department were up last year at just over 41,000 calls, but overall crime numbers were down in many categories.

The stats include 0 murders last year and 22 reporter rapes, down nine from the previous year. There were 293 DUI arrests, also a drop from last year. Alcohol-related calls, including complaints of loud parties, are less than half of what they were were a decade ago.

"We have had some ordinance changes and in addition to that, the Department of Transportation and the North Dakota Highway Patrol have identified grant funding to aid us in targeting those areas for reduction," Lt. Roger Pohlman said.

Pohlman credits the department's hard work and relationships with businesses and non-profit organizations in crime prevention. He says police have also been proactive with new refugees including 90 people who have moved here in the last year. Mayor Michael Brown's Immigration Integration Initiative allows police to meet with refugees soon after they arrive.

"I explain to them that we are not military, we do not torture, we are not aggressive unless we absolutely have to be," Cpl. Katie Hecht said.

Hecht meets the new refugees on a regular basis to talk about local laws. She says the refugees are used to living under very different laws, where bribery is legal, and even some kinds of domestic abuse is legal.

"We walk them through all of that. We also discuss the difference between child discipline and child abuse," Hecht said.

Police stress that refugees are a very small part of the population and say they also have lots of crime-reduction programs aimed at the general population. All of those programs aim to educate and build relationships in the community as it grows.

Not all of the crime numbers were down in the report. Last year there was a 22 percent bump in burglaries, 312 of them. But that number is still lower than it was a decade ago.

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