Dickinson crime rates increasingThe Dickinson Police Department Criminal Investigations Unit has seen an increase in its workload over the past year, officials said.
By: April Baumgarten, The Dickinson Press
The Dickinson Police Department Criminal Investigations Unit has seen an increase in its workload over the past year, officials said.
“The numbers are actually quite convincing,” said DPD Sgt. Dave Wilkie. “It shows that not only are we doing the same work as last year, but we are doing quite a bit more.”
The CIU has handled 589 cases to date with 88 crimes against persons cases. Wilkie added the unit has assisted other agencies with 37 cases. He said the only low number was drug cases — the unit has handled eight cases.
“The reason this number is low is because these are cases that we have worked outside of dealing with the drug task force,” he said. “What we have a history of doing is any drug cases we come across we refer them to the drug task force.”
Wilkie’s presentation at City Hall during the Dickinson City Commission meeting Monday showed that crimes against persons cases had increased by 131 percent from last year. In that category, assault cases had increased by 300 percent, while sex offenses had increased by 314 percent.
Property crime cases have increased by 202 percent. The CIU said it has seen a 400 percent increase in burglaries from last year as well.
Commissioner Klayton Oltmanns said it would be nice to see the actual numbers so the commission could see the true context of the increases.
“At first glance, those numbers are alarming,” Oltmanns said. “If you had one crime this year and three crimes this year, it is not quite as alarming if you had 100 and it turned into 300. I think we have to be careful.”
DPD Chief Dustin Dassinger said the numbers did not represent the city but the activities in the CIU. Wilkie also added a turnover in the DPD may play a part in the increased workload.
“We are looking at more new officers who are not probably at the experience level yet to deal with some of these cases that maybe last year are more experienced officers would have handled themselves,” he said. “Those numbers represent four officers’ workloads.”
The CIU is in charge of sex offender reports, which are mandated by the City of Dickinson. Wilkie said that every week he receives at least one notification that a sex offender is moving into the area.
“With the transient population, we are going to see more people who are forced to registered (as sex offenders) come into this area,” Wilkie said.
Wilkie projected that Dickinson would see an increase in major crime in the next year, adding the CIU’s numbers already show that.
“We are going to see more crimes against persons and more crimes against businesses,” Wilkie said. “We are going to see prostitution, and we are going to see more drugs come into this area.”
Mayor Dennis Johnson said an increase in crime is one of the negative effects of an oil boom, but it is unrealistic to expect that “nothing but good things” would come with the energy impact.
“We have been increasing our police staff here lately,” Johnson said. “That is one of things you can do is make sure you are fully staffed when it comes to law enforcement.”