Area see increase in violent crimeSome areas in southwest North Dakota are seeing increases in violent crimes, with many experiencing increases in domestic violence calls and disorderly conduct situations.
Some areas in southwest North Dakota are seeing increases in violent crimes, with many experiencing increases in domestic violence calls and disorderly conduct situations.
“For the last few times, when I was asked, it’s increased huge over the last four months … I mean for everything,” said Dickinson Police Department Chief Chuck Rummel.
Darianne Johnson, executive director of the Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Center in Dickinson, said the number of domestic violence cases is increasing.
“We’ve seen more domestic violence incidents that involved weapons,” Johnson said. “We’re trying very hard to let people know that there is a domestic violence agency in Dickinson.”
The center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Johnson said.
DPD Capt. Dustin Dassinger said while all violent crimes are a concern, domestic violence calls are a top concern for the department’s area.
Dassinger said while disorderly conduct calls are not becoming more violent, they are becoming more frequent.
The DPD is seeing many, many more bar fights, Rummel said.
“I think it’s just a combination of more people in town, more people from different backgrounds,” Dassinger said. “I wouldn’t blame the oil industry for what we’re seeing. We have all different types of workers in our community right now.”
However, violent crimes are not becoming more violent in nature, Dassinger said.
“I think the biggest thing is that our community is growing and we do have a lot more people that are not considered locals,” Dassinger said. “It’s important that the people in our community have a little more heightened awareness of their surroundings and that includes everything from locking their doors, locking their car doors, locking their homes at night. There’s no reason for anybody to be panicked that crime is just running rampant in our community because that’s not taking place.”
Dassinger anticipates domestic violence calls to be slightly higher than last year’s number of 214. This year through Wednesday, the department has received 207 domestic violence.
“I really don’t see that that’s an alarming number considering all the people that we have in our community right now,” Dassinger said.
Some law enforcement agencies further north are being inundated with increases.
Watford City Police Department Chief Slade Herfindahl, said 2009 produced 35 arrests. As of the end of August, the department has had more than 90 arrests, he said.
“Social Services up here has had some staggering statistics,” Herfindahl said.
Herfindahl said the department saw two index offenses last year, a category including violent crimes such as murder, forcible rape, robbery and theft, and so far this year, that number is sitting at more than 20.
Alcohol or drugs are involved in 80 to 90 percent of the crimes, Herfindahl said.
The number of domestic violence cases, “along with everything else,” is doubling compared to last year, Herfindahl said.
“We are seeing violent crime on the rise,” Herfindahl said. “The child abuse and neglect cases, the domestic violence cases … just even to the bar fights and the disorderly conducts, it’s on the rise.”
Herfindahl said he has received approval to hire two more officers to deal with an accumulating caseload.
Killdeer Police Department Chief Warren Hoffman said domestic violence arrests are not significantly increasing.
In 2006, there were two arrests for domestic violence, Hoffman said. Presently, there have been four.
But, the number of driving under the influence arrests and other traffic citations has more than doubled.
In 2006, 64 citations were issued. For 2010 thus far, 176 citations have been issued.
Rummel said he receives many calls from concerned, frightened citizens and several requests to resurrect a women’s self defense course.
“People around here are very frightened right now,” Rummel said. “There’s an awareness now that again, this reminds me of the 80s … women were very afraid. You don’t need the fear — you need an awareness.”