Total crime rose just 7.9 percent in North Dakota, but rape cases rose 41 percent in the oil patch.
Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem released the newest statistics in a press conference Tuesday morning, announcing the state held the nation’s lowest crime rate at 2,214 offenses per 100,000 people.
“It is a concern that crime is up in nearly every category. Although the number of crimes is up, so is the state’s population,” Stenehjem said. “It’s important to note that nine out of every 10 crimes reported were property crimes, such as theft from a motor vehicle and shoplifting. At less than 10 percent of all crimes, North Dakota’s violent crime rate remains among the lowest in the nation.”
In 2011, there were 34 reported rapes in oil counties, which was down 29 percent from 2010.
That number rose sharply to 48 in 2012, but didn’t match the 96 percent increase (27 to 53) between 2007 and 2008.
Statewide rapes were up 17 percent to 243 from 207.
Total statewide offenses were 14,866 compared to 13,778 in 2011. Violent crimes made up just 9.8 percent, a rate Stenehjem called “fairly steady” over the past five years.
While the violent crime rate remained steady, it did increase 7.2 percent from 2011 and he said more than half of the state’s violent crimes were cleared by arrest or “exceptional means.”
Aggravated assaults rose just 1 percent in the oil patch. There were 20 murders in 2012 compared to 15 in 2011, and the state has averaged 11.5 homicides over the past 20 years.
Property crime made up the largest percentage of the crime index at 90.2 percent with more than $22.2 million worth of property stolen in 2012.
Motor vehicle thefts increased by 20 percent and burglaries decreased by 1.2 percent.
While not part of the crime index, Stenehjem said the state does track drug and alcohol arrests and saw a 10.9 percent increase in DUIs over the year’s span. In 2012, there were 7,322 DUI arrests compared to 6,600 in 2011, accounting for more than one-fourth (27 percent) of adult arrests in 2012.
Juveniles made up 17 percent of total arrests and 24.8 percent of crime index arrests.