Despite Oil Boom, North Dakota Crime Rate Actually Lower Than A Decade Ago
One thing the anti-oil activists have seized on to criticize North Dakota’s oil boom is crime statistics. Back in May I wrote about crime statistics for the oil patch reported by the rabidly anti-oil Forum Communications noting that they were reporting those statistics without either historical context or the context of changing population numbers.
Population in western North Dakota along with everything else, and with more people comes more crime. But as the Associated Press reported yesterday, crimes rates are actually lower in North Dakota than they were a decade ago and, if you put crime rates in the context of population, you are no more likely to be the victim of a crime in the oil patch than anywhere else in the state.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s crime rate increased 9 percent last year but remains lower than a decade ago when the state had some 50,000 fewer residents, according to a report released Monday.
The annual report released by Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem provides statistics for crimes ranging from murder to car thefts and other property crimes. Data show that crime was up in nearly every category except forcible rape, which was down about 7 percent to 207 cases.
Stenehjem said a perception that North Dakota’s booming oil patch in the western part of the state is a “lawless and crime-riddled area” is “not borne out by the actual facts.”
A lot of the hysteria about western crime has to do with people living in western North Dakota feeling a little “invaded” by all the new people moving in. If you live in western North Dakota you’re probably the sort of person who enjoys a slower pace of life. When a faster pace of life comes and finds you, it can cause no small amount of consternation manifesting itself in fear of being the victim of crime, whether those fears are valid or not.
A lot more of the hysteria comes from those who have a political agenda and want to cast oil production in a negative light. When that agenda is advanced through irresponsible, biased reporting (I’m looking at you again, Forum Communications) it can create inaccurate public perceptions.
There is no crime problem in western North Dakota, but there are profound social and economic changes going on.Tags: crime, North Dakota News, oil boom, Wayne Stenehjem