Attorney General Marty Jackley continues to signal to Congresswoman Kristi Noem that she’d better not try running against him on crime. Our A.G. offers this relatively positive summary of the newly released Crime in South Dakota 2016 report:
The crime statistics reflect that, overall, South Dakota remains a safe place to live as a result of strong community involvement and law enforcement efforts. Many categories of crime, including murder, rape, and sexual offenses were down in 2016. However, the national drug epidemic continues to impact overall crime in South Dakota, with drug offense alone increasing 12.5% in 2016…. Law enforcement agencies are aggressively fighting crime in South Dakota…. Local, county and state agencies in our state have added over three hundred more certified officers since 2007, which has also resulted in more arrests to keep our neighborhoods and cities safe [Attorney General Marty Jackley, press release, 2017.03.20].
Serious offenses (“Group A”) increased 7.3%; lesser offenses (“Group B”) increased 5.3%.
The report says 37.8% of crimes occurred at homes or apartments and 22.5% happened on the road. 6.5% happened in parking lots and garages. 1.0% of crimes happened in government or public buildings. I can’t think of any crimes that happened in the Capitol, where legislators claim there is a pressing need for civilians to pack heat.
2.4 times as many men committed crimes as women. However, victims are split almost 50–50 between men and women.
The report counts 21 “bias-motivated” crimes—i.e., hate crimes. Targeted by those crimes were five blacks, two Indians, one Latino, one multi-racial, two gays, one lesbian, two transgender, two gender nonconformists, three folks with mental disabilities, and two atheists/agnostics. (The foolish conclusion here would be that in 2016, atheist bloggers faced twice as much risk of facing a hate crime in South Dakota as Hispanics or lesbians.)
Only 36 crimes—0.07% of the 53,190 reported Group A offenses—involved gangs. 530 serious crimes involved use of a firearm; 523 involved use of a knife or other cutting incident (stats don’t break down offenses committed with broadswords or epees, alas).
Thieves swiped $23.7 million worth of property in 2016. Law enforcement recovered only 31% of those ill-gotten goods, worth $7.4 million. Maybe Kristi could campaign on the need to bring that percentage up… although the national rate of recovery for stolen property in 2015 was 26.1%, so Marty could argue he’s done a better job of bringing back the booty than cops elsewhere.