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Wendy Reuer, Published March 20 2013

Moorhead sees increases in serious assaults, burglaries

MOORHEAD – Annual crime statistics released here Wednesday showed the number of aggravated assaults jumping to 43 in 2012 from 17 in 2011, a 153 percent increase.

Moorhead police Sgt. Tory Jacobson said the increase is linked to cases of domestic violence. He said extensive training for officers last year helped them recognize and better document strangulation, a type of aggravated assault.

Burglaries also increased – from 101 in 2011 to 145 in 2012, a 44 percent jump.

Jacobson said Moorhead saw a number of burglaries committed by the same suspect, which is likely the reason for the increase. He said police also saw an uptick in storage unit burglaries and copper thefts in 2012, he said.

Overall, the number of reported Part I crimes – more serious offenses such as rape, robbery and burglary – increased 8 percent from 2011 to 2012, going from 872 to 945.

Part II crimes – drug offenses, vandalism and drunken driving, for instance – decreased by 12 percent from 2011 to 2012, dropping from 2,251 to 1,971.

According to the year-end statistics, cases of arson also saw a huge jump, from three in 2011 to 16 in 2012.

That number includes 13 Dumpster fires started by the same person, Jacobson said.

“That was resolved, but it certainly was an unusual thing,” Jacobson said.

Cases of robbery and auto theft dipped in 2012. Five robbery cases were reported in 2012 compared to 13 in 2011, and only 32 vehicles were stolen in 2012 compared to 40 in 2011.

Drug offenses decreased in 2012 from 173 in 2011 to 129 in 2012.

Driving while intoxicated cases were also down slightly at 289 in 2012 from 291 in 2011.

In total, the Moorhead Police Department arrested 1,713 adults and 288 juveniles in 2012, not counting traffic offenses.

While it is too early to tell how statistics will shape up in 2013, Jacobson said the numbers do not indicate a need for more officers at this time.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530