North Dakota Crime Rates


As part of an ongoing series of interviews with law enforcement officials from around the country, we spoke with Fred J. Thompson, the Chief of Police for Valley City, ND. Below are excerpts from that interview.

INMYAREA.COM: You were appointed Chief of Police for the Valley City Police Department in 2012. What was the first thing that needed to change to increase public safety?

THOMPSON: The first action item was to update the Policy and Procedure Manual. This is something the town will continue to update, review, and improve. The Policy and Procedure Manual gives rules, guidelines and a clear direction for officers on what to do in any given situation.

INMYAREA.COM: Why do you think that Valley City is one of the safest cities in North Dakota?

THOMPSON: All of the great officers in the department are a huge reason why Valley City is so safe. Officers in the department have developed a friendly working relationship with the public. Aside from the officers, the people of Valley City are another reason why a high level of public safety has been maintained. They are all very proactive and inform officers if they see anything.

INMYAREA.COM: What has been your biggest challenge to keeping Valley City safe?

THOMPSON: The unknowns. The department has to keep a close eye on the next guy off the I-94 freeway. The I-94 is a major freeway that brings strangers into the small town of Valley City. Some of these strangers could be a rotten egg.

INMYAREA.COM: What are your plans to maintain a high level of safety?

THOMPSON: Continue working with the community and keep an approachable disposition. In respect to the public, we act on info given in a timely manor.

North Dakota's sparse population seems to get along well, with less than two thirds below the national averages for both violent and property crimes. So, North Dakotans can feel a little more secure against break-ins and violence, as compared to the rest of the country. On the other hand, between 2012 and 2013, the amount of crimes reported by local law enforcement agencies increased by 5.5 percent, an increase of over 800 crimes in just a year. There are also other categories of crimes that North Dakota does not do so well in. Drastic fluctuations in the murder rate and other subcategories from year to year result from insufficient data, however. Nevertheless, crime rates increased by roughly eight percent from 2010 to 2011. SEE ALSO: South Dakota Crime Rates

Crime Trends

North Dakota suffered 247 violent crimes per 100,000 people last year, an increase of over seven percent from 2010. Murder rates more than doubled, but the state saw only 24 murders across its 683,000 residents. Nevertheless, violent crime was up in every sub-category. Nationally, violent crime decreased 4.5 percent to an average 386 per 100,000 people. The state also witnessed an 8.8 percent increase in property crimes, up to 1,936 per 100,000 people. While this drastic increase contradicts the national 1.3 percent decrease in violent crime, property crime rates in North Dakota are still only two thirds as high as the nationwide average, in addition to being lower per capita in every individual category. However, if this trend continues, the number might be higher than the national average in just a few years. SEE ALSO: Top 4 Self-Defense Weapons That Fit Into Your Pocket

Best And Worst Places To Live

The aptly named Devil's Lake is North Dakota's most dangerous city, with 47 crimes per 1,000 residents. This makes Devil's Lake safer than the most dangerous city in many other states. Fargo, Jamestown, Bismark and Grand Falls round out the "most dangerous" list. Valley City is North Dakota's safest, with a mere 84 crimes amongst its 6,500 residents last year. Wahpeton, West Fargo and Mandan also sit high on the safe list. From Devil's Lake to Valley City, though, you should always think about the safety of your loved ones, your home, and your property. One way of making your home safer is through a home security system. To learn about pricing and plans for a home security system, click here.

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