Editorial: Rumors around Dickinson out of controlThere are Hispanic gang members hanging out in area parking lots handing young women playing cards drenched in chemicals which cause them to pass out. These gang members then take the drugged women, rape them and move on to the next victim. So the story goes.
There are Hispanic gang members hanging out in area parking lots handing young women playing cards drenched in chemicals which cause them to pass out. These gang members then take the drugged women, rape them and move on to the next victim. So the story goes.
The phones of local law enforcement agencies have been ringing as residents call asking about this supposed criminal activity.
Numerous people have also called The Dickinson Press office wondering why we are not doing our job and reporting on such a terrifying story.
The Press also got a call from someone who knows someone who heard from a reliable witness that this is happening. However, no one seems to want to produce a name. One caller said the police told her friend she should watch out for these gangs.
Unless the police are hiding something, these assaults are not happening. The Press checks daily police logs and no such incidents have been reported.
Dickinson Police Department Capt. Dustin Dassinger recently sent out a press release regarding this, stating there are rumors swirling throughout Dickinson and across social media sites concerning the sexual assaults and stalking. Here he confirms the department has not taken any related complaints.
He also makes a valid point, stating the change of demographics within the community has people on edge.
The area is changing as many newcomers head to western North Dakota to work in the oilfields.
Just because someone is of a different race, has an accent or does things differently than you may be used to, it does not mean they are a criminal.
People don’t seem to want to let go of these rumors.
Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Center personnel are hearing the same rumors, Executive Director Darianne Johnson and community outreach coordinator Amaya Roll say.
The center also has not seen an increase in sexual assault numbers. They say victims are more likely to be sexually assaulted by someone they know than by a stranger.
“We don’t want people to be alarmed,” Johnson said regarding the rumors. However, she said oftentimes sexual assault crimes go unreported.
These rumors may or may not be true but people should always act responsibly, she said, adding “If you are uncomfortable, have someone with you. If you have a bad feeling, follow that feeling — follow your gut — because it’s usually right.”
Because of the change in the community makeup people are jumping to conclusions about a number of issues. Some residents say they have stopped going to local businesses or out after dark because of “what Dickinson is becoming.”
Instead of spreading false information, we suggest residents make an effort to meet and greet their new neighbors.
If something seems suspicious, call the police. Let common sense prevail — don’t walk into a dark alley at night and be cautious when out alone. There is no need to live in fear. Just because someone posts something on Facebook doesn’t mean it’s fact.
Remain vigilant in protecting yourself but also remain vigilant in protecting Dickinson’s reputation.
Dickinson Press Publisher Harvey Brock and Managing Editor Jennifer McBride sit on The Press Editorial Board.