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Published June 01 2013

Forum editorial: Ignore this stuff at your peril

The crime news from North Dakota’s booming oil counties paints a mixed and often manipulated picture of what is happening out there. It’s not all that bad or it’s out of control. It’s the media’s focus on the negative or local see-no-evil cheerleading.

The reality is somewhere between the extremes. But make no mistake about it: Whether crime of all kinds is up a lot or a little, the change from pre-oil boom times is startling and worrisome to the folks who live with it every day. Responses to the change confirm that no matter how crime statistics are framed, both perception and fact of increasing crime constitute a decline in quality of life, as it was defined prior to the boom.

Recent news is instructive:

The obvious benefits – to the entire state – of go-go oil and gas development cannot be denied. It’s extraordinarily good news. But there’s an undeniable dark side. North Dakotans who spin it or soft-pedal it do so at their peril.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.