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Number of calls to Jamestown police in line with previous years

In 2021, the Jamestown Police Department had 14,686 calls for service.

Jamestown Police Car 05132022
A Jamestown police officer is seen driving down 2nd Avenue Northeast in Jamestown on Friday, May 13. In 2021, the Jamestown Police Department had 14,686 calls for service – any call where an officer responds to a request – compared to 13,429 in 2020 and 14,816 in 2019.
Masaki Ova / The Jamestown Sun
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JAMESTOWN – Calls to the Jamestown Police Department, reported crimes and arrests increased in 2021 because of the pandemic in 2020 but were in line with previous years, according to Scott Edinger, chief of police of the department.

In 2021, the Jamestown Police Department had 14,686 calls for service – any call where an officer responds to a request – compared to 13,429 in 2020 and 14,816 in 2019.

“That’s been pretty steady for a little while,” Edinger said.

He said a few years ago the calls for service were around 18,000.

“Part of that was traffic. Traffic is what kind of dropped off at the end of 2019, 2020 and 2021 and then we had some years where we had some turnover where we had a number of people gone for an extended period of time where we were I think down five to six officers,” he said. “So then those calls for service were getting handled by fewer officers, so there was less time to do traffic and there were less officers working traffic.”

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Scott Edinger
Scott Edinger, Jamestown Police Chief

The total number of traffic citations issued were at 1,881 in 2021 compared to 1,277 for 2020 and 1,775 in 2019.

Reportable offenses – crimes that the Police Department reports to the FBI – picked back up in 2021 to 1,093 compared to 960 in 2020 and 1,048 in 2019. Edinger said the number of reportable offenses in 2021 is still within a reasonable range of what he considers average.

In 2021, 773 adults were arrested in Jamestown compared to 679 in 2020 and 948 in 2019. Edinger said the number of arrests increased in 2021 because there were more arrests for contempt of court.

“We didn't have court and we had a lot of people that didn’t respond, so there were about 40 additional arrests alone just for contempt of court,” he said. “About pretty close to the other half of those numbers (increase in adult arrests) from 2020 to 2021 were drug paraphernalia charges. We had 22 arrests in 2020 and we had 56 in 2021.”

Violent crimes in Jamestown increased in Jamestown, but were in line with previous years, Edinger said. He said 179 assaults were reported in 2021 compared to 147 in 2020 and 168 in 2019.

“Out of those (reported assaults), there were 80 arrests in 2019, 87 arrests in 2020 and 99 arrests in 2021,” he said. Of those arrests, 24 were for juveniles in 2019, with eight in 2020 and 30 in 2021.

There were no murders or attempted murders reported in Jamestown in 2021.

There were 24 sex offenses reported in 2021 compared to 26 in 2020 and 20 in 2019.

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“Of those we had nine arrests in 2019, 10 arrests in 2020 and 22 arrests in 2021,” Edinger said.

He said the number of thefts in 2021 stayed consistent with the previous two years with 217.

One of the biggest increases was for scam-related calls. In 2021, the Police Department received 60 calls for scam-related calls compared to 16 in 2020 and 17 in 2019. Of those scam-related calls, 32 were classified as wire fraud in 2021 compared to 10 in 2020 and 16 in 2019.

Edinger said the increase in scam-related calls is because of people wiring money and providing gift cards to scammers.

“ It is almost always a scam if you don’t know who the person is, if you can’t verify who the person is, it’s probably a scam,” he said. “The federal government, local government, state government, nobody like that asks for gift cards. Nobody collects tax ahead of winnings in a lottery. If you are having to send it overseas it’s probably not legitimate.”

With wiring money, he said companies such as Western Union and MoneyGram don’t help out in trying to prevent people from being scammed. He said these companies allow people to wire the money for the convenience of their customers.

“I will tell you the reason is that the company is making money off all of that fraud,” he said. “They are still collecting the fees from all of that fraud. There is really no motivation for them not to because they could really do a lot to restrict it.”

Calls related to suicide also stayed in line with previous years. In 2021, there were 30 suicide attempts compared to 36 in 2020 and 27 in 2019. There were four suicides completed in 2021 compared to one in 2020 and four in 2019. There were 78 calls for suicide threats in 2021 compared to 97 in 2020 and 78 in 2019.

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“We are seeing a lot of this. There is a lot of focus on mental health, but there aren’t very many resources,” Edinger said. “We talk about trying to come up with resources but in reality there are less resources for us to get to people. … There is a huge hole in available options for juveniles.”

When someone reports a suicide threat, police officers will try to get the individual in contact with someone from South Central Human Service in Jamestown, he said.

He said dealing with suicide threats takes up a lot of the department’s time compared to everything else.

“There are oftentimes where we will have an entire shift tied up for eight hours on one of these cases,” he said. “There is times where we had to bring in a separate shift to cover the street so one shift could deal with one case with a suicide or mental health call.”

Masaki Ova joined The Jamestown Sun in August 2021 as a reporter. He grew up on a farm near Pingree, N.D. He majored in communications at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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