Skip to main content

Amid rise in crime, FBI to set up field office in North Dakota's Bakken oil region

  • Author:
  • Updated:

The jail cells in North Dakota are overflowing.

“We never envisioned that this jail would be full,” Williams County Sheriff Scott Bushing told the Williston Herald. “But who could of planned for this?”

The "this" that nobody envisioned is the state's oil boom – a billion-dollar industry with high-paying careers that has turned sleepy towns such as Williston into small cities that are now bursting at the seams with new bodies (and their cash-filled bank accounts).

But more people has, of course, meant more crime – sex trafficking, drug use and sales, and more. And not enough law enforcement personnel or training to deal with it.

In response, the FBI will soon be opening a permanent field office in North Dakota's oil-rich Bakken region, The Associated Press reports.

The office will be based in Williston, Sen. John Hoeven said in a press release, which will be "vital not only for addressing crime, but also for maintaining our quality of life.”

Hoeven and fellow Sen. Heidi Heitkamp have been pushing for the office since last winter, Heitkamp said in a release. The office – which will be the fifth in the state – will eventually have four federal agents and two support staff.

"While the boom has delivered undeniably great economic benefits throughout North Dakota ... it has also resulted in new law enforcement and social challenges our communities have never seen before," Heitkamp said.

A timetable for its official opening has not been announced.

North Dakota's population has shot up from about 658,000 in July 2008, to 723,000 just five years later – an increase of about 10 percent.

A report released this summer showed overall crime was up in the state, particularly in the Bakken oil field areas.

Next Up


Man pleads guilty to murder of Inver Grove Heights father

Michael Chang-Beom Lee, 43, was killed during a burglary at his home.

Eggs at Hy-Vee

Price comparison: How much do eggs cost at Twin Cities grocery stores?

Prices have been spiking, so where can you find the cheapest eggs?


FOX 9 promotes Hannah Flood to anchor, adds new reporter

Hannah Flood will co-anchor mornings while Se Kwon joins the team.

Carjacking pursuit in Little Canada

Watch: Suspects drive wrong-way on I-35E, before carjacking separate vehicles

The Ramsey County Sheriff's Office said the suspects are still at large.


St. Paul restaurant damaged in Sunday night fire

The fire department said the fire is considered to be "accidental."

Lake Superior.

MPCA: Minnesota's emissions fell by 23% between 2005 and 2020

Clean energy investments have driven the decline.

Dave Durenberger

Former U.S. Senator for Minnesota Dave Durenberger dies at 88

Durenberger served two terms before his disgraceful exit in the mid-1990s.

Screen Shot 2023-01-31 at 10.17.33 AM

Two new breweries join Minneapolis, St. Paul downtowns

There are new spots in North Loop and Lowertown.

driver's license

'Driver's Licenses For All' bill passes Minnesota House, heads to Senate

It would allow Minnesotans to obtain it without needing proof of legal presence in the U.S.