Attorney General Marty Jackley has released the 2011 Crime in South Dakota report. AG Jackley says our crime stats show "that South Dakota remains a relatively safe place to live as a result of law enforcement efforts, strong community involvement, and a supportive legislature."

Relatively safe. Comparing numbers from year to year is tricky, since the number of local agencies reporting crimes isn't consistent. The crime stats also ignore the total South Dakota picture by not seeking out Indian reservation crime data. But in mostly white South Dakota, the number of serious ("Group A") offenses reported increased 3.6% from 2010 to 2011.

So it's not just my anxiety as a teacher; in Dennis Daugaard's first year as Governor, South Dakota became a slightly more dangerous place for everyone, right?

A few notable numbers from the 2011 report:

  • Forcible rapes: 386 (16 of those attempted), up 19.9%.
  • 192 of those rapes happened to juveniles.
  • 67 rapists were juveniles.
  • Statutory rapes: 137 (9 attempted), up 26%.
  • Drug/narcotic violations: 3,786, up 16.2%.
  • Drug equipment violations ("Is that a bong in your pocket, or are you just happy to see the police?"): 2,291, up 28.6%.
  • Simple assault: 6,334, up 5.2%.
  • 36% of those assaults involved alcohol.
  • 57% of those assaulted were women.
  • Theft of motor vehicles: 787, up 14.9%.
  • Theft from motor vehicles: 2,232, down 13.6%.
  • Burglary/Breaking and Entering: 2,566, down 9.7%.
  • Shoplifting: 2,451, up 3.2%.
  • Pocket-picking (people do this in South Dakota!): 40, down 11%.
  • Incest: 21, up 40%.
  • Arson: 109, up 73%.
  • Welfare fraud: 3, same as last year.

Let me emphasize that last number: out of 37,202 serious offenses, there were 3 instances of folks cheating welfare, just 0.008% of the total.

Speaking of welfare, the annual South Dakota crime report is brought to you by Grant #2010-BJ-CX-K011, money from the friendly folks at the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice.

Haters gonna hate... but in South Dakota, haters don't do it loud enough to get police attention very often. The state crime report shows 27 bias-motivated/hate crimes:

Target #
white 7
black 7
American Indian 3
Asian/Pacific Islander 1
Jewish 1
Protestant 1
Hispanic 3
Gay 1
Gays/Lesbians 3
Total 27

Only three Group A crimes had more female offenders than male offenders: prostitution (17 ladies of the night versus just 4 gigolos... but wait: there are men in South Dakota with whom anyone will pay to have sex?), embezzlement (85 to 79), and purse-snatching (10 to 4).

The state crime report lists no crimes involving inappropriate use of the notary seal in 2011. That number may increase in the 2012 report.