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2015 crime stats show little change from 2014

Posted 1/05/16 (Tue)

Divide County Sheriff Lauren Throntveit’s end-of-year statistics show signs of a slight slowdown in crime accompanying the ongoing slowdown in oil activity, though the decreases are modest.
The number of non-traffic-related cases filed in 2015 dropped to 238, down from 261. This includes 28 felonies, down from 32 in 2014; and 187 misdemeanors, after 207 the previous year.
“It’s pretty close to last year,” said Throntveit.
The department wrote 1,238 traffic citations in 2015, up from 1,062 in 2014.
“The traffic citations were up but it’s fairly close to ‘14,” he said.
One arrest, of Toby McLaughlin of Columbus, accounted for a number of cases. His apprehension in June, for the April burglary of Crosby’s Hardware Hank, led to additional charges upon the discovery of numerous other allegedly stolen items in his possession. McLaughlin pled guilty to the Hardware Hank thefts in July.
“That one [arrest] solved a whole pile of cases,” in Divide, Burke and Williams County, Throntveit said.
The sheriff recently cut two positions, by not filling them when they became open, but “We’re still getting a lot of calls, and your civil process serving is up,” due to more people being served with paperwork for non-payment of bills.
Throntveit said, that’s to be expected as more people lose employment, but he said the problem is much  more severe in places like Williston.
Back in 2003, there were five officers serving the county and the City of Crosby, combined. Now, there are a total of seven deputies. 
As far as cutting anymore staff, Throntveit said that’s going to take time.
“It takes a few years,” Throntveit said, because unlike the last boom, when just about everyone was laid off, Divide County is hanging on to a higher population of people because a number of production jobs will remain.
“This time is better than last time,” he said, because “some of them actually got to keep their jobs.”
His biggest concerns moving forward are the same as before: “Drugs, booze and stealing.”