BOISE, Idaho — Idaho’s crime rate remained mostly stable last year, though drug crimes saw a notable increase, Idaho State Police said.
Statewide, there were almost 5,035 crimes reported for every 100,000 residents in 2016, according to a report released this week. That’s only a .07 percent increase over the 2015 crime rate.
The total number of drug crimes increased more than 15 percent, however, with more than 11,300 drug violations reported last year. Some of the increase can be attributed to Idaho’s growing population, but the per-capita numbers were also striking: nearly 670 drug crimes reported per 100,000 Idaho residents, compared to about 570 per 100,000 residents reported last year.
“That’s a trend that’s increasing nationally and one we are very concerned with here in Idaho,” said Idaho State Police spokesman Tim Marsano.
Idaho is surrounded by states that have legalized marijuana, and Marsano said troopers are working hard to intercept any illegal drugs brought across state lines.
“Some of the drug violations are as a result of illegal drugs moving through our state, but a lot of those drug violations are individuals who are caught with either personal amounts for personal use, or (drug) paraphernalia, both of which are illegal,” he said.
Hate crimes also increased, though they remained among the least-reported crimes, with 28 reported last year compared to about 22 reports the previous year. Idaho’s hate crime law does not include protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender residents.
The annual report doesn’t suggest any reasons why drug and hate crimes increased. Marsano said the agency steers clear of trying to interpret why crime rates might go up or down in certain categories.
Other findings in the report:
-No officers were killed in the line of duty last year, but 338 officers were assaulted, a 2.7 percent increase from 2015.
-Crimes against persons were up 3.7 percent and the majority of those — about 64 percent — were simple assault offenses.
-Property crimes increased slightly, by about 1.9 percent.