Idaho continues to be among states with least crime

Aggravated assaults account for the bulk of violent offenses.

jsowell@idahostatesman.comAugust 14, 2013 

The trial of Gregory Higgins Jr. on first-degree murder charges captured headlines last month. After a week of testimony, a Canyon County jury decided that Higgins shot James Groat to death in August 2012 in an isolated area near Lake Lowell.

It was one of four murders recorded in Canyon County in 2012 — among the most for counties in the state.

Police agencies in the Gem State reported 201 murders, assaults and other violent crimes committed per 100,000 residents in 2011, according to statistics compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The Idaho crime rate rose from 243 crimes per 100,000 in 2003 to 257 crimes in 2005, but the numbers have gotten better ever since.

In 2012, the violent crime rate increased to 203 crimes per 100,000 residents — a rise of just two incidents per 100,000 — according to statewide data collected by the Idaho State Police.

Aggravated assaults accounted for 77 percent of the violent crime in Idaho, followed by forcible rapes (14.4 percent), robberies (7.4 percent) and murders, which were just 0.8 percent.

A total of $46.3 million worth of property was either stolen or destroyed during 2012, up $2.7 million from the year before.

The largest number of property crimes took place in July; the fewest in February.

The 251-page ISP report provides interesting details about crime and crime victims.

For example, one-fourth of the violent crime that took place in Idaho in 2012 was committed against victims who were younger than 18.

Knives were the weapon of choice for those committing violent acts, followed by firearms, blunt objects and vehicles.

Local incidents included a case in January 2012 in which a Caldwell man was held at knifepoint while three men and a teenage boy allegedly took electronics gear and other items from his home. All four were later arrested.

Nearly half of individual robbery victims were between the ages of 20 and 29. A third of the robberies reported took place at a businesses.

Juveniles were arrested in a large portion of the crimes reported. Seventy-two percent of those arrested in arson cases; nearly 38 percent of those taken in for motor vehicle thefts; a third arrested in larceny and theft incidents; and 26 percent of burglary suspects were younger than 18.

Those figures include a July 2012 case in which a 17-year-old Meridian boy was charged with setting four vehicles on fire. A firearm stolen from one of the vehicles was recovered when the boy was arrested.

Adults between 18 and 24 accounted for 43 percent of drug and narcotic arrests. Another 15 percent were juveniles.

John Sowell: 377-6423

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