Skip to main content

Report: Overall crime up in North Dakota; biggest spikes in oil field counties

  • Author:
  • Updated:

North Dakota's attorney general said he will request an increase in funding and personnel to take on rising crime, following the release of the state's annual crime report Tuesday, Forum News Service reports.

Wayne Stenehjem detailed state statistics in a press release and at a news conference at the Capitol building in Bismarck, and broke down numbers for crimes in the state's booming oil field counties.

According to FNS, Stenehjem has requested $20 million for oil impact grants for law enforcement agencies for 2015-2017, up from $16.6 million lawmakers grants for 2013-15. In addition, Stenehjem is seeking two additional Bureau of Criminal Investigation agents to be stationed in Williston to tackle the increase in human trafficking and prostitution; and additional BCI agents for Williston, Watford City and Dickinson.

Stenehjem said in the 2013 report the state's oil-producing counties saw 23 percent spike in aggravated assaults from 2012, while aggravated assaults were up 7.9 percent statewide.

In the North Dakota oil patch, Stenehjem said Tuesday there were 346 aggravated assaults in those counties in 2013, up from 282 in 2012, the Bismarck Tribune reports. For the remainder of the state, there were 810 aggravated assaults last year, up from 789 in 2012.

The Tribune says those "oil patch" counties in North Dakota are Billings, Burke, Divide, Dunn, Golden Valley, McKenzie, McLean, Mercer, Mountrail, Stark, Ward and Williams.

Stenehjem stressed his biggest area of concern remains the rise in drug offenses, up 19.5 percent from 2012. According to the Tribune, Stenehjem said at Tuesday's press conference he's alarmed by the increase in methamphetamine cases.

"They're increasingly complex (cases). Meth is not coming in by the gram or ounce anymore … but by the pound," Stenehjem said.

Stenehjem said drug arrests in the oil patch counties jumped from 581 in 2012 to 813 in last year. The increase in drug arrests for the rest of North Dakota jumped 2,291 in 2012 to 2,618 in 2013.

While Stenehjem said the number of violent crimes – including murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault – increased by 7.4 percent across North Dakota in 2013, there was a drop in specific categories.

“This year’s report includes some positive news as well as some areas of great concern.

On the positive side, reports show a reduction in the number of rape cases which dropped over 2 percent," Stenehjem said in a press release. "And for the first time in several years, the number of cases of driving under the influence has shown a significant reduction. The number of homicides in the state likewise went down, from 20 in 2012 to 14 in 2013."

According to the attorney general's report, North Dakota's violent crime rate has more than double since 2004, from 91.9 offenses per 100,000 people in 2004 to 215.4 offenses per 100,000 people last year.

Still, Stenehjem noted, since violent offenses accounted for less than 10 percent of the overall index offenses – and property crimes accounted for 90.1 percent – he considers North Dakota one of the safest states in the nation.

Next Up

Hsa Law Yaw Say

Police trying to find woman, 18, who was shot at in St. Paul

Police are looking for help finding the woman.


Is an Amazon grocery store coming to Woodbury?

There's six rumored stores in the Twin Cities.


Man sentenced to life in prison for 2021 murder of girlfriend

Lacy Jo Krube, 36, was found unresponsive at her St. Paul home, after she'd been beaten in Brooklyn Park.

Richfield High School

New threat prompts closure of Richfield secondary schools

The new threat comes after a shooting outside the Richfield High School football game Friday night.

Screen Shot 2022-09-25 at 6.09.38 PM

Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg to headline Duluth rally

The rally will take place at Leif Erikson Park on Oct. 1.

Screen Shot 2022-09-26 at 6.09.43 AM

Stella's Fish Cafe closes temporarily to investigate viral rodent video

The Uptown restaurant said it was closing temporarily so it could investigate the claims.

Governor Tim Walz

Walz, judge in dispute over Feeding Our Future case

A Ramsey County judge disputed Walz's claims that the Minnesota Department of Education was ordered by the court to resume payments to Feeding Our Future.


2 dead, 1 with life-threatening injuries in Hwy. 7 crash

Both drivers were not wearing their seatbelt, according to the State Patrol.

Screen Shot 2022-09-25 at 11.50.33 AM

15-year-old Richfield football game shooting suspect arrested

A 16-year-old accused of instigating the altercation is also in custody.

Police tape

3 arrested after homicide, burglary in Inver Grove Heights

Charges of first-degree murder and first-degree burglary are pending.

fire, firefighter

Woman dies after becoming trapped in Waseca house fire

Police tried to enter the home but heavy smoke prevented them from getting inside.