Attorney General Releases ND Crime Statistics - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Attorney General Releases ND Crime Statistics

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Crime is up in North Dakota.

According to the state's crime statistics released today, crime is up 7.9%.

Homicides in the state are at the highest level in 30 years at 20 in 2012.

And there's another area of crime that concerns Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.

Stephanie Scheurer has the details.

Western North Dakota has seen the largest increase in population.

Although this area isn't all to blame for the increase in crime, the drug problem is booming right alongside the oil.

"The drug numbers seem to be steadily increasing and the problem when you look at the drug numbers is the nature of the crimes that we're seeing with drugs," says Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.

There were 2,872 drug arrests in North Dakota and 581 of those were out in the oil patch making this trend a huge concern.

Back in 2003, there were 115 drug arrests.

These would be the result of small, local distributors.

"That's not the case anymore. We have people who are now coming from Mexico, coming from the places where the drugs are initially originate and they are coming up to North Dakota," says Stenehjem.

Now, law enforcement officers are overwhelmed.

Organized criminal operations are coming in and bringing large amounts of drugs.

"Where an ounce or two used to be a pretty good arrest. Now we're seeing them bringing in pounds of it and the kinds of drugs that they're bring in is much more diversified than it had been. So we're seeing everything from marijuana, to heroin, to cocaine, to methamphetamine," says Stenehjem.

To combat the problem, the state has increased the number of law enforcement personnel to work in western North Dakota.

Stenehjem says the goal is to get a handle on this problem and keep North Dakota one of the safest states in the country.

In Bismarck for KX News, I'm Stephanie Scheurer.

Reported rapes are also at the highest level in 10 years.

Some good news...

Violent crime in the state is less than 10 percent of all of the crimes that are reported.

90 percent are property crimes.

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