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July 29, 2015

BISMARCK, ND – Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem today released North Dakota’s crime statistics for 2014. The annual Crime Report is compiled from information reported by local law enforcement agencies across the state.

“The good news is that for the first time in more than a decade, aggravated assaults are down. Also on the positive side, the number of cases of driving under the influence has fallen for the second year in a row. Perhaps the most serious concern, however, is the worrisome increase in drug arrests. Not only are the total arrests for drug offenses up by almost eighteen per cent, but we also know from reports from law enforcement that the drug arrests involve more serious drug activity,” said Stenehjem.

Arrests for drug offenses increased 17.7% from a 2013 total of 3,399 to 4,000 in 2014.

The 2014 Crime Report uses the new FBI National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS), which allows more detailed reporting. NIBRS collects information on 47 crimes in 22 crime categories and allows up to 10 offenses to be reported in a single incident, compared to the eight crime categories and single offense limitations of the old UCR Summary Reports.

“Although the new reporting system makes it difficult to do a flat comparison of this year’s statistics to last year’s report, the 2014 report includes a five-year trend analysis compiled from NIBRS reports,” said Stenehjem. All law enforcement agencies statewide began reporting in the NIBRS system five years ago, in anticipation of the FBI’s phase-out of UCR reporting.

  • Total “Group A” offenses increased by 6.8% with 42,968 offenses reported by local law enforcement, compared to the 40,245 reported in 2013.
    • Group A offenses include the categories of Crime Against Persons such as murder/non-negligent manslaughter, rapes, assaults; Crimes Against Property offenses such as robbery, burglary, thefts, shoplifting, and motor vehicle theft; and Crimes Against Society offenses such as drug violations, gambling, prostitution and weapon violations.

Crimes Against Persons

  • Overall, reports of aggravated assault decreased by 1%. There were 1,145 reports of aggravated assault in 2014, compared to 1,156 reports in 2013. By definition, aggravated assault involves serious bodily injury to the victim or when the offender uses or displays a weapon in a threatening manner.
    • Almost one-third (32%) of all aggravated assault were in the oil field counties, which is similar to the rate in 2013 (30%). Alcohol use by the offender was a factor in more than half of the aggravated assaults.

Although the decrease in aggravated assaults from 2013 to 2014 is very small, it represents the first decline in those offenses in 11 years. From 2004 to 2013, the average annual increase of serious assaults has been 13.8%. In previous years, Stenehjem expressed concerns that the alarming increase year after year was one of the most serious law enforcement concerns in the state.

“Perhaps the 2014 statistics represent a reversal in that long trend,” hoped Stenehjem.

  • The state’s crime rate of 5,810.6 per 100,000 population is increased slightly over the 2013 crime rate of 5,563.4 (a 4% increase). The crime rate is calculated using the Group A offenses.

There were 19 murders in 2014, up from 14 in 2013. North Dakota’s low rate of homicides and relatively small population can result in significant fluctuations from year to year. Homicide comprises only 0.2% of the Crimes Against Persons category. Viewed over the past twenty years, the state has averaged about 12 homicides a year. In 2014, two victims were female. Six homicides were the result of domestic violence incidents. In 2014, all of the murderers were apprehended. In the past 20 years, only seven homicide cases have gone unsolved, a 96% clearance rate.

“If you commit murder in North Dakota, you are going to get caught,” said Stenehjem.

Crimes Against Property

Property crime, which includes robbery, burglary, thefts, shoplifting, and motor vehicle theft, accounted for 55% of Group A offenses. The number of property crimes increased by 3.8% in 2014 with 23,712 reported, compared to 22,835 reported in 2013. More than $38.6 million worth of property was reported stolen in 2014.

  • Motor vehicle thefts increased by 11.7%, from 1,309 in 2013 to 1,462 in 2014.
  • Burglaries decreased by 8.6%, from 2,724 in 2013 to 2,490 in 2014. Fifty percent (50%) of burglaries in 2014 were of residences.

There were 6,705 DUI arrests in 2014, compared to 7,117 arrests in 2013, a decrease of 5.8%. DUI arrests account for one-fourth (24.9%) of all adults arrested in 2014.

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