While violent crime across North Dakota was up 2.4% in 2019, according to information from the North Dakota attorney general's report, local crime statistics were mostly steady or down, according to officials with the Jamestown Police Department and Stutsman County Sheriff's office.
"Assaults were pretty consistent," said Scott Edinger, Jamestown chief of police. "It really doesn't coincide with anything in particular happening. Just consistent."
There were 168 assaults reported in Jamestown in 2019. This was down from 183 in 2018 and 230 in 2017. Sex offenses were also down, with 20 reported in 2019 compared to 25 in 2018 and 38 in 2017.
Chad Kaiser, Stutsman County sheriff, said aggravated assaults were down but simple assaults were up in the areas of the county outside of Jamestown.
In 2019, one aggravated assault was reported compared to two in 2018 and five in 2017. There were 19 simple assaults reported in 2019 with 17 in 2018 and 16 in 2017.
Drug arrests were down in both Jamestown and Stutsman County, although by a larger amount in Jamestown. The North Dakota Century Code was changed to make possession of small amounts of marijuana an infraction rather than a crime. People suspected of being guilty of an infraction are issued a summons to appear in court rather than arrested.
In Jamestown, the number of drug offenses were cut nearly in half with 176 reported in 2019 compared to 347 in 2018. In Stutsman County, 53 drug arrests were made in 2019, which was up from 32 in 2018 but down from 59 reported in 2017.
"Adult arrests, in general, were down," Kaiser said, noting 78 arrests in 2019 compared to 144 in 2018. "The change in the drug charges regarding marijuana made a difference."
Edinger said the overall calls for service, the number of times officers responded to information from the public, or saw something themselves that they checked out, was down for the Jamestown Police Department.
Jamestown officers responded to 14,617 calls for service in 2019 compared to 17,049 in 2018 and 17,432 in 2017.
"In most cases, calls were down because we were short-staffed," Edinger said. "Crimes that officers would encounter while on patrol were down because with less officers, we had less officers on patrol. Parking tickets and traffic stops would be examples."
Edinger said statistics for things commonly reported by the public, such as thefts and assaults, were closer to steady compared to previous years.
The Jamestown Police Department hired seven new officers to fill vacancies in 2019. The department currently has a roster of 25 officers and one vacancy.
The department made 1,891 traffic stops and issued 1,775 tickets in 2019. In 2018, they made 2,439 stops and issued 2,190 tickets.
The Stutsman County Sheriff's office issued 546 traffic citations and warnings in 2019 compared to 418 in 2018. Its statistics do not track the number of traffic stops made by deputies.
Kaiser said the sheriff's office was short one deputy for most of 2019 from its force of 11 officers.
Edinger said his department's statistics for 2019 were consistent.
"Mostly what I figured," he said. "No huge changes anywhere. The overall number down because of the turnover."
Kaiser said activity by his department was up from the previous year.
"We were up a couple hundred calls for service and I don't really know why," he said. "One possibility is people are more vigilant. When they are seeing things they consider odd, they report it."