Idaho

Idaho drug and hate crimes see double-digit rate increase

A Meridian police vehicle parks outside of a crime scene on the 800 block of Newport Street in Meridian on June 23. (Kyle Pfannenstiel / Idaho Press)

Statewide, Idaho saw a 2 percent increase in its most serious crimes in 2017.

That’s according to the Idaho State Police’s annual crime report, released Friday. Statewide, violent crime increased 2.6 percent, while drug crime increased 11.7 percent. Hate crime reports were up almost 16 percent.

In 2017, the report shows, police across the state received reports of 87,793 “Group A” crimes. Those crimes include the state’s most serious felonies, such as rape, murder and kidnapping, as well as robbery and burglary. In 2016, there were 86,059 Group A crimes reported. The Spokesman-Review has reported on many of these offenses, including the arrest and sentencing of Ronald Nold. Also worth noting is Idaho’s recent efforts to crack down on these crimes, including Solace House, a new safe house for children, who are victims of sex trafficking.

Half of the Group A crimes reported in 2017 were property crimes. Another 28 percent were considered “crimes against society,” such as drug and prostitution offenses. A final 20 percent were crimes against persons, such as rape and murder.

More hate crimes were reported in Ada and Canyon counties than in any other part of the state. Hate crimes occupied their own section in the state report, which said there were 51 reported hate crimes in Idaho in 2017 as opposed to 44 in 2016 – a 15.9 percent increase. Treasure Valley police handled more hate crimes than police in any other region of the state, with the Boise Police Department reporting 18 hate crimes, followed by the Nampa Police Department, whose officers handled seven such offenses. Statewide, 15 hate crimes targeted African-Americans, and nine were deemed anti-Muslim attacks.

Trends by city

In Ada County, all law enforcement agencies except for the the Meridian Police Department reported a decrease in arrest rates. In Meridian, however, arrests increased 7.1 percent in 2017, from 2,326 to 2,492. The most commonly reported crime in Meridian in 2017 was larceny/theft, with 1,239 cases reported, followed by drug crimes, with 535 offenses reported.

Both reported crimes and arrests dropped in Garden City, however. In 2017, the law enforcement received reports of 1,201 crimes in Garden City, a drop in 9.4 percent from last year. Arrests fell 5.9 percent, to 713, as opposed to 758 in 2016.

Reported crimes in Boise changed less than 1 percent, with a 0.29 percent increase. Arrests, however, were down 7.9 percent in Boise, from 7,135 in 2016 to 6,570 in 2017. As in Meridian, larceny/theft were the most commonly reported crimes in Boise, followed by drug offenses.

Rates of reported crimes and arrests also returned to similar rates of past years in Nampa, after both dropped in 2016. Police made 3,742 arrests and received reports of 6,577 crimes in 2017. That means arrests increased 15 percent from 2016, but 2016 had the fewest arrests of any year in the past five years, at 3,245. The numbers in 2017 represented a return to numbers more similar to years past for the city of about 91,300 people in 2017.

Caldwell also saw an increase in reported crimes and arrests in 2017. There were 3,945 crimes reported in the city in 2017, a 21.8 percent increase, the most it’s seen in the past five years. Arrests also increased to 2,132 in 2017. That’s an 18.9 percent increase from 2016, but those numbers are still lower than the ones reported in 2013 and 2014; police made 2,790 and 2,332 arrests in those years, respectively.