Report Shows Crime Numbers in Western ND | VideoJennifer Joas | 7/2/2012
The number of forcible rapes are down and there haven`t been any recent oil field related homicides in western North Dakota. These facts may surprise you, but Stenehjem says all the crime is relative to the population boom.
"While people need to be ever vigilant and certainly need to be more concerned than they`re used to having been out in some of those formerly low population counties. The likelihood of being a victim of a crime out there is really not that much greater than it is in any other part of the state."
The Attorney General concluded this by re-estimating the number of people in western North Dakota. The 2010 census excluded anyone living in crew camps, an additional 24,000 people. When those numbers are added in, it decreases the actual crime rate.
"One could argue that your chance of being a victim of gross sexual imposition in the oil patch, statistically at least is lower out in that area of the state than it is elsewhere. And that I think is pretty good news," Stenehjem said.
The one thing missing from the crime report is the number of traffic violations in western North Dakota, and that`s what`s bogging down police personnel.
"We`re seeing quite an increase in traffic related crashes and traffic related citations, DUI arrests and also your complaints that come in from the citizens," said Williston Police Detective David Peterson.
The Williston Police Department started a separate traffic division to handle the increased load. These statistics help local law enforcement adjust its staff to address the growing concerns.
The Attorney General`s office is also hearing there are thefts of oil field equipment throughout the west, but many are going un-reported. They encourage all crimes to be reported to law enforcement.