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Eye On Boise

Posts tagged: crime in Idaho

North Idaho has highest crime rates in the state, eclipsing Boise area

North Idaho has the highest crime rate in the state, eclipsing the more-urbanized Boise area, according to the state’s latest crime statistics. It’s a trend that’s been growing in recent years. The Boise area had a much higher crime rate than the Panhandle as recently as 2008, but since then, North Idaho’s rate has surged comparatively, even as the state’s overall crime rates have dropped.

“Our guys are working hard and they’re doing a good job, but it’s just trying to keep up is the hard part,” said Kootenai County Sheriff Ben Wolfinger, pictured above out on patrol. You can read my full story here at

Overall crime in Idaho fell in 2012, but violent crimes were up

Idaho’s crime rate dropped 1.5 percent in 2012, according to the new “Crime in Idaho” report, continuing a five-year decline, but the number of violent crimes – murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault - increased 5.2 percent. That was partly due to a 3.2 percent increase in aggravated assaults, which made up 77.4 percent of violent crimes. Idaho’s population increased 0.8 percent in 2012, according to U.S. Census figures.

The annual state report shows the North Idaho Panhandle had the highest crime rate in the state in 2012. That’s in District 1, which consists of the five northernmost counties. Second-highest for crime rate was District 5, the far southeastern corner of the state, which also has the second-lowest population, while the Boise area, District 3, ranked third among the state’s six regions. That’s for the number of serious crimes per 100,000 population, from murder to motor vehicle theft to drug crimes.

While overall serious crime in the state has been mostly declining for the past five years, it increased in 2011, then declined in 2012 to a point between the 2009 and 2010 levels. Total violent crime, a small subset of crimes against persons, has bounced around, jumping to a high in 2009, falling for the next two years, and then rising in 2012 to just below the 2010 level.

Among the tidbits in the report: The top five locations where violent crimes occurred in Idaho in 2012 were at residences, on roads, in bars, in parking lots, and at a school or college. Just 23.3 percent of those crimes were committed by strangers to the victims. When the state broke down the results of the crime stats into a “crime clock,” it found that Idaho saw one murder every 13.5 days, one aggravated assault every 3.5 hours, one drug offense every 1.1 hours, and one burglary every 1.3 hours. The least common crime on the clock: Bribery, with one offense every 182.5 days, followed by gambling, at one every 121.7 days. Most common: Destruction of property, happening every 49.3 minutes.

You can see the full report here, with breakdowns by specific offense, location and more. The state crime reports go into a national Crime in the U.S. report, which is compiled later; its latest figures show that in 2011, Idaho’s violent crime rate was the 6th lowest in the nation, at 200.9 per 100,000 residents. The only states with lower rates were, in order, Virginia (196.7), Utah (195), New Hampshire (188), Vermont (135.2), and ranking lowest of all, Maine, at 122.1.

A bit of good news: Crime is down…

Crime is down in Idaho, continuing a multiyear trend, and it’s down even more in North Idaho. Both the number of serious crimes committed and the area’s crime rate in 2008 fell significantly from the previous year, according to the state’s latest statistics; that trend also held statewide. The Panhandle now has the third-lowest crime rate of the state’s six regions and is below the state average. Interestingly, the Southwestern Idaho region that includes Ada and Canyon counties saw its crime rate fall even more - 10.6 percent, vs. 8.8 percent in the Panhandle and 7.9 percent statewide. Offenses committed in the southwest region dropped by 8.6 percent. That region has the second-highest crime rate (per capita) among the six regions - the highest is southeastern Idaho, and third-highest is north-central Idaho. The lowest crime rate, by far, is in east-central Idaho, but that was also the only region to see the number of offenses increase (by 1.2 percent). You can read my full story here in today’s Spokesman-Review, and read the annual Crime in Idaho report here.

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About this blog

Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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