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Crime growing issue in North Dakota's oil patch

State gets another $1 million in grants to tackle the issue.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   Sept. 4, 2014 at 7:46 AM
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BISMARCK, N.D., Sept. 4 (UPI) -- Federal law enforcement agents need to be positioned in the heart of the North Dakota oil patch to address rising crime rates, Sen. John Hoeven said.

The state attorney general said in a July report violent crimes in the state in 2013 increased by 7.4 percent while arrests for drug-related offenses increased 19.5 percent from 2012.

Hoeven, R-N.D., said FBI and Drug Enforcement Agency officials aren't stationed permanently in Williston, the heart of the state's oil boom, to the frustration of local law enforcement agents.

"Our local law enforcement officials have the best understanding of the situation and do a good job with the tools and resources they have, but we can better address drug trafficking and other serious crimes with the active engagement and permanent presence of experienced, well equipped federal agents," he said in a statement Wednesday.

North Dakota in August received a $3 million federal grant to help address crime in the western part of the state, where much of the Bakken and Three Forks oil reserves are situated.

Hoeven added the state received another $1 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Justice to help fight crime in the reserve areas.

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