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July 21, 2017

Media Contact: Liz Brocker (701) 328-2213

BISMARCK, ND - Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem today released North Dakota’s crime statistics for 2016. The report is compiled from information reported by local law enforcement agencies across the state.

“The good news is that the overall crime rate is down slightly from last year, aggravated assaults appear to have plateaued, and DUI arrests continue to decrease. The bad news is the significant increase in drug arrests,” said Stenehjem.

The state’s crime rate of 6,348.0 per 100,000 population is down 0.5% from the 2015 crime rate of 6,379.5. The crime rate is calculated using the Group A offenses. Group A offenses include the categories of “Crime Against Persons” (such as murder/non-negligent manslaughter, rapes, assaults), “Crimes Against Property” (robbery, burglary, theft, shoplifting, and motor vehicle theft), and “Crimes Against Society” (drug violations, prostitution, animal cruelty). Group B offenses include DUI, bad checks, disorderly conduct, trespassing, and other less serious offenses.

  • In 2016, 48,115 Group A offenses were reported by local law enforcement agencies, including 9,606 crimes against persons, a 1.5% increase from 9,469 reported in 2015.
  • The number of rapes fell by more than 9%, from 287 reported in 2015 to 260 in 2016.

There were seventeen homicides in 2016, down from 21 in 2015. All the victims were adults. Four victims died as a result of knife wounds. Two of the seventeen murders involved domestic violence, the lowest in eight years. Historically, nearly all the homicide cases in North Dakota are cleared by an arrest or other circumstances.

In 2016, there were 1,132 reports of aggravated assault, down 4.5% from the 1,185 reported in 2015. Aggravated assault involves serious bodily injury to the victim or use of a weapon in a threatening manner. Over the last several years, aggravated assaults had increased steadily year after year. However, that trend appears to have reached a plateau, Stenehjem noted. In 2012, there were 1,083 aggravated assaults, a crime rate of 154.8 per 100,000, compared to 149.3 in 2016.

Alcohol and/or drug use by the offender was a factor in over 42% of aggravated assaults in 2016.

  • 45% of the reported aggravated assaults in 2016 were related to domestic violence, compared to 34.5% of aggravated assaults reported in 2012.

“For several years, aggravated assaults statewide were escalating at a rate faster than the state’s overall population increase. That trend appears to have been halted, and perhaps may even be reversing. It is disturbing to note, however, that as the overall rate of aggravated assaults is declining, domestic violence related aggravated assaults are increasing,” said Stenehjem.  

Property crimes accounted for 54% of the total Group A offenses reported in 2016. The number of property crimes decreased 3.5% from the 2015 total of 27,032 to 26,082 in 2016. More than $40.1 million worth of property was reported stolen in 2016.

There were 4,866 drug arrests reported in 2016, an increase of 11% from 4,382 drug arrests in 2015. The report shows a five-year trend of steadily increasing drug arrests and offenses.

Arrests for alcohol related offenses, however, are continuing to show a significant decline. There were 5,406 DUI arrests in 2016, down from 6,229 in 2015. This is the lowest number of DUIs since 2003, when there were 4,854 DUI arrests.

The total number of arrests reported increased from 31,648 in 2015 to 32,345 in 2016. DUI arrests accounted for 16.7% of total arrests in North Dakota last year. In 2012, there were 7,382 DUI arrests, which was 22.7% of the 32,547 total arrests.

“The biggest factors accounting for the decrease in DUI offenses appears to be the enhanced DUI penalties and refusal laws which took effect in 2013, together with 24/7 drug testing program,” said Stenehjem.

Detailed crime statistics are available from the Attorney General’s Crime Statistics Online (CSO) system. The CSO system allows the user to customize reports by specific offense, jurisdiction, gender and other demographic information. 

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Read the 2016 Crime & Homicide Reports

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