- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 26, 2018

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Drug arrests continue to rise in North Dakota, according to 2017 crime statistics.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem released his office’s figures on the last eight years of crime rates for oil country and statewide on Monday. His office also rolled out an online data portal for the state’s crime statistics, the Bismarck Tribune reported .

Drug arrests are increasing despite the state’s fairly level crime rate and population, Stenehjem said. North Dakota’s overall crime rate of about 6,374 per 100,000 people remained relatively unchanged from 2016-2017, a 0.4 percent increase. The crime is calculated using three categories, including crimes against persons, property and society.

North Dakota authorities made about 5,100 drug arrests last year, about a 4.6 percent increase from 2016, according to the data portal. That number is about double the state’s drug arrests made in 2010.

“A part of that is that we’re ever diligent in working to make these kinds of arrests,” Stenehjem said. “But part of it I think, too, is that the number of and the amount that we’re seeing coming into North Dakota, as elsewhere, is simply increasing.”

Marijuana accounts for about half the drug arrests last year, with methamphetamine following second and narcotics third.

“We’re seeing (meth) in greater quantities and stronger potency,” Stenehjem said.

The first two months of 2017 were the tail end of protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline in southern Morton County, which included hundreds of arrests and criminal charges. Stenehjem said it’s hard to tell where the protests are reflected in last year’s crime statistics, but they likely affected numbers for DUI arrests because of patrol officers reassigned to respond to the monthslong demonstrations.


Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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