Man Camp Murder Used As Fodder For Oil Patch Crime Complaints
Over the weekend there was a shooting at a crew camp in Tioga, ND. It involved two oil workers from different parts of the country. One is dead, the other is now in custody for the crime.
Already the incident is setting the usual jaws wagging about oil patch crime, fanning the flames of parochial fears of “outsiders” and nasty stereotypes about oil field workers. The Fargo-centric North Dakota media, which has displayed a marked hostility to oil development in western North Dakota, will sensationalize because of the tie-in to the oil boom.
One out-of-stater murdering another out-of-stater in Fargo wouldn’t warrant the same coverage, but a murder in a crew camp in the oil patch fits the media’s narrative nicely.
It’s worth noting, though, that as tragic as this single crime is statistically speaking the oil boom hasn’t brought about the boom in crime that some seem to perceive. In fact, from 2002 through the end of last year, statistics for the most serious types of crime have remained largely static:
The idea that the oil patch is a “lawless and crime-riddled area” is “not borne out by the actual facts” said Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem upon the release of the crime statistics report linked above last month. He’s right, and barring some disturbing new trends the rest of this year, 2012 won’t be any different.
There are public perceptions and then there is reality. The two sometimes don’t overlap at all, especially when perceptions are perpetrated by some for the purposes of certain political or social agendas.Tags: bakken, crime, North Dakota News, oil boom, Wayne Stenehjem