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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 1st, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

 

The Old Story – With Oil Comes Crime. Development of Oil Resources in Montana and North Dakota Destroys Communities and Environment. Just try to Foresee what the Development of Oil Resources Could do to The Arctic – a region that is even more out of site then above mentioned US States.

QUOTATION OF THE DAY

“It just feels like the modern-day Wild West.”

SGT. KYLAN KLAUZER, an investigator in Dickinson, N.D., on an increase in crime during an oil boom.

 

As Oil Floods Plains Towns, Crime Pours In

By JACK HEALY

 

With the new prosperity, soaring crime rates have come to places in Montana and North Dakota, straining law enforcement resources and shattering the sense of safety.

SIDNEY, Mont. — One cold morning last year, a math teacher jogging through her hometown in eastern Montana was abducted, strangled and buried in a shallow grave. Charged in her death were two drifters from Colorado, drawn to the region by the allure of easy money in the oil fields.

One hundred fifty miles away, in a bustling oil town in North Dakota, a 30-year-old man disappeared one afternoon from the street where he had been putting in water and sewer pipes, leaving behind a lunchbox with his paycheck inside and a family grasping for answers. After months of searching, his mother said she now believes her son is gone, buried somewhere on the high plain.

Stories like these, once rare, have become as common as drilling rigs in rural towns at the heart of one of the nation’s richest oil booms. Crime has soared as thousands of workers and rivers of cash have flowed into towns, straining police departments and shattering residents’ sense of safety.

etc. … etc.

Last year, a study by officials in Montana and North Dakota found that crime had risen by 32 percent since 2005 in communities at the center of the boom. In Watford City, N.D., where mile-long chains of tractor-trailers stack up at the town’s main traffic light, arrests increased 565 percent during that time. In Roosevelt County in Montana, arrests were up 855 percent, and the sheriff, Freedom Crawford, said his jail was so full that he was ticketing and releasing offenders for minor crimes like disorderly conduct.

“I don’t have nowhere to put them,” Sheriff Crawford said.

Officials say that most of the new arrivals are hard workers who are simply looking for better lives, and that much of the increase in crime has resulted from population growth: Waves of new residents inevitably mean more traffic crashes and calls to 911.

Police and sheriff’s departments are responding by hiring more officers, in part with new tax revenue but often not fast enough to keep pace with their booming populations. In Dickinson, for example, the population has surged to an estimated 25,000 from 16,000 in 2000, with new hotels, condominiums and extended-stay inns being built every week. The city’s police department has 38 officers, but Sergeant Klauzer said it would need to add 12 more to keep up with the growth. Each detective’s caseload has doubled. Federal prosecutors say the boom’s riches have attracted opportunists and criminals. Mexican cartels and regional methamphetamine and heroin traffickers have proliferated, hoping to tap the same sources of wealth that have turned farmers into millionaires and shaved unemployment rates to as low as 0.7 percent.

 

“It’s following the money,” said Michael W. Cotter, the United States attorney for Montana. “I hate to call the cartels entrepreneurs, but they’re in the business to make money. There’s a lot of money flying around that part of Montana and North Dakota.”

Federal prosecutors say the boom’s riches have attracted opportunists and criminals. Mexican cartels and regional methamphetamine and heroin traffickers have proliferated, hoping to tap the same sources of wealth that have turned farmers into millionaires and shaved unemployment rates to as low as 0.7 percent.

“It’s following the money,” said Michael W. Cotter, the United States attorney for Montana. “I hate to call the cartels entrepreneurs, but they’re in the business to make money. There’s a lot of money flying around that part of Montana and North Dakota.”

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