ND Crime Rate Up, but Still Lower Than a Decade AgoBISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's crime rate increased 9 percent last year but remains lower than a decade ago when the state had some 50,000 fewer residents, according to a report released Monday.
By: James MacPherson, Associated Press
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's crime rate increased 9 percent last year but remains lower than a decade ago when the state had some 50,000 fewer residents, according to a report released Monday.
The annual report released by Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem provides statistics for crimes ranging from murder to car thefts and other property crimes. Data show that crime was up in nearly every category except forcible rape, which was down about 7 percent to 207 cases.
Stenehjem said a perception that North Dakota's booming oil patch in the western part of the state is a "lawless and crime-riddled area" is "not borne out by the actual facts."
Statistics show that counties in the oil patch account for about a quarter of the state's population and about a quarter of the crimes, Stenehjem said. It's is no more likely to be a victim of a crime in the oil patch as it is anywhere else in the state, he said.
"Crime is up — and up considerably in a worrisome way" in some counties in the oil patch but "the major reason that is happening is because the population is up," Stenehjem said.
The number of offenses reported statewide by law enforcement increased from 12,427 in 2010 to 13,778 last year. Stenehjem said the number of crimes has dropped from 15,239 a decade ago, when the state had about 634,000 residents compared with about 684,000 last year.
Aggravated assaults have been increasing in North Dakota since 2003, contrary to national trends, Stenehjem said. The felony crimes involving fights in which the victims are seriously injured have jumped from about 300 a decade ago to 1,040 last year, he said.
Stenehjem said 15 murders occurred last year, up from 11 in 2010. The state averages about 11 murders annually, he said.
North Dakota law enforcement agencies reported 29,260 arrests last year, down from 29,404 in 2010.
The number of drunken driving arrests statewide jumped from 6,050 in 2010 to 6,600 last year. Stenehjem said a third of the drunken driving arrests in North Dakota last year involved repeat offenders.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.