Dunn County crime rate declines in 2016

Calls for law enforcement declined in Dunn County in 2016 by nearly 35 percent from that in 2015.

So it’s no surprise to see that there was a significant drop off in the crime rate in the county during that same time. However, in some cases the 2016 numbers were higher than those from 2014.

There were a total of 372 calls for law enforcement – Dunn County Sheriff’s Department, Killdeer Police Department or North Dakota Highway Patrol. In 2015, there were 557 calls for service among the agencies.

And there were less instances of Driving Under the Influence on Dunn County roads in 2016 than the previous year. There were 80 DUI cases, down from 90 in 2015.

Those cases included 49 incidents where drivers had a blood-alcohol level of .08, 13 where the blood-alcohol level of .16, and 13 more who cited for refusal to take a sobriety test.

Also, in 2016, there was just one repeat DUI offender, compared to eight in 2015.

“By any measurable standard, our Zero Tolerance DUI enforcement effort (started in the Fall of 2014) and the hard work of our Dunn County peace officers and juries continued to reap benefits,” said Dunn County States Attorney Pat Merriman “Again, the all-time high of 138 DUIs in 2014 to just 98 in 2015 and in 2016 another drop to 80. That’s a decrease of 29 percent for calendar year 2015 and 18 percent more for 2016.”

“And, again this year, the number of drunk drivers who blew .16 or higher (twice the legal limit) continued to drop from 22 percent in 2015 to only 16 percent in 2016. The numbers are still too high but, anecdotal evidence from peace officers is that drunk drivers avoid Dunn County,” Merriman said.

“A more disturbing trend is that: in 2012, 60 percent of DUIs where committed by out-of-staters; that number increased to 65 percent in 2013; and to 67 percent in 2014. In 2015, that changed dramatically dropping to 53 percent and, for 2016, a complete reversal. Yep, 53 percent of DUIs this past year were committed by North Dakotans,” Merriman added.

There were also less citations where motorists were cited for driving under suspension/revocation with 106 cases, well below the 215 cases than the year before. But it was more than the 94 cases in 2014.

Law enforcement also responded to less assault cases than in 2015. There were 21 cases in 2016, seven less than 2015. However, it was 10 more than the total in 2014.

Meanwhile, law enforcement responded to 71 cases of possession of illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia, compared to 87 in 2015. But it was much lower in 2014, with just 51 cases.

“With the advent of medical marijuana laws in North Dakota, many are smiling and waving (sitting on that sack of seeds) claiming that now that pot is legal, we are home free. Regardless, recall Dunn County’s history: in 2012, there were only 29 total drug cases filed here; that tripled on 90 in 2015 ( a 310 percent increase); and, remains ridiculously high at 79 in 2016 with residents accounting for 54 percent of those offenses.”

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