Crime increases slightly in North Dakota in 2017, compared with 2016

Jun 26, 2018

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem announces the 2017 crime statistics.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota's crime rate was up slightly in 2017, compared with 2016.

The overall rate was up by just 0.4%.

"North Dakota will continue to be one of the safest states in our country to live and raise a family," said North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. "That's good news."

Stenehjem said one area of concern is the number of drug arrests, which were up by 4.4%. He said the concern is not just about the arrests themselves.

"The quantity we're seeing brought in and the potency is ever-increasing," Stenehjem told Capitol reporters. "And our law enforcement is always worried, because increasingly, we're seeing people trafficking the drugs are typically heavily armed."

Marijuana arrests top that list, followed by methamphetamine.

Twelve homicides were reported in 2017. That’s down from the 18 reported in 2016.

Stenehjem said he’s concerned about the state’s continuing budget issue – and how that might impact his office and other public safety functions of government. Gov. Doug Burgum had asked agencies to prepare budgets with 5 to 10 percent spending reductions. But Stenehjem said he thinks one area where the state should not cut back is in public safety.

"I will be pressing the Legislature to make sure we continue to have our hard-working  agents here at BCI (Bureau of Criminal Investiagtion) working and making arrests," Stenehjem said. "Every arrest they make, especially for meth and heroin, and fentanyl, is a potential life that's saved."

Stenehjem said he will also have a package of bills to dove-tail with the state’s “justice reinvestment” effort, to get more money into drug treatment and rehab programs.

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