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Dave Olson, Published March 19 2012

Reports of serious crime in Moorhead drop 13 percent

MOORHEAD – Reports of serious crimes in Moorhead dropped 13 percent in 2011, with what are known as Part I offenses falling from 1,006 cases in 2010 to 872 cases last year, according to statistics released by Moorhead Police.

Part I offenses include such crimes as rape, robbery, aggravated assault and burglary.

The 2011 total was the lowest in the past 10 years; 2007 ranks second-lowest, with 878 reports.

The year in the past decade with the highest number of serious offenses reported in Moorhead was 2002, with 1,272.

Some categories of crime saw numbers rise last year, but Moorhead Police Chief David Ebinger said numbers can appear deceptively volatile in low-crime cities like Moorhead.

“An example of that is robbery,” he said. “We’re up 63 percent (in 2011). But that’s because we’re in a town that generally has five to eight robberies in a year. You have 13, that’s going to really impact your figures.”

For 2011, Moorhead’s less serious crimes, called Part II offenses, numbered 2,251, a 4 percent drop from the 2,353 offenses reported in 2010.

Part II offenses include crimes such as simple assault, fraud, vandalism, narcotics, sex offenses, stolen property and DUI.

Ebinger said he believes the declines show that the Moorhead Police Department’s approach to things is working.

He said falling numbers of aggravated assaults over the past decade may be due in part to an emphasis area law enforcement has placed on narcotics cases, which he said blunts the influence of crime coming to this area from places like Texas and the Twin Cities.

Ebinger stressed that relatively positive crime statistics should not leave residents with a false sense of security and people should remember that not everyone is as law abiding as they are.

“You can’t leave keys in cars. You can’t leave doors unlocked,” he said.

“It’s going to help us if people will be just a little more skeptical of their fellow man,” Ebinger added.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555