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October 21, 2021
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Child porn, marijuana seizures increase in Idaho Falls while overall reported crimes in east Idaho drop

IDAHO FALLS — The overall crime rate is down in east Idaho, although some kinds of crime have gone up.

In Idaho Falls, for example, reported child pornography cases doubled between 2017 and 2018, and the amount of marijuana seized by city police skyrocketed.

Overall crime dropped 11.69 percent in Bingham County, more than 21 percent in Madison County and 5.12 percent in Bonneville County. These numbers come from the Idaho State Police Uniform Crime Reporting, which gathers data every month from sheriff’s offices and police departments and generates a yearly report.

“We’re targeting a lot of the drug abuse and drug-related crimes. A large share of those are tied into our property crimes and some of our violent crimes. A lot of times, they go hand in hand,” Bonneville County Sheriff’s Spokesman Sgt. Bryan Lovell said.

The report shows drug crimes did drop marginally in Bonneville County by .77 percent. In a presentation to the Idaho Falls City Council last week, Idaho Falls Police Chief Bryce Johnson addressed the drug issue in the city.

“I don’t think we’ve significantly lowered or increased our drug issues. They continue on at a pretty constant rate year to year. It’s an addicting habit, and people keep doing it,” Johnson told the City Council.

Although drug crimes overall may not have dropped significantly, one drug saw a dramatic rise in seizures. In 2017, the IFPD seized 320 grams of marijuana. In 2018 that numbered jumped to 1,926 grams.

“Contrary to popular belief, marijuana is still an illegal substance in the state of Idaho, and we are still required to enforce it,” Johnson said.

Property crimes throughout Bonneville County dropped by more than 9 percent. That includes burglary reports, which were down 22.9 percent. IFPD reports similar numbers in the city.

Property crimes dropped in almost all areas – burglary, credit card fraud and shoplifting. However, Johnson said not to get too excited about the drop in shoplifting.

“That is probably a reflection of how much shoplifting enforcement is being done by our local retailers. I do not think that there’s less shoplifting occurring — they’ve just caught more shoplifters. Or it could be a measure of the economy being really good right now,” Johnson said.

City Councilman John Radford also suggested that it could be a reflection of the number of people shopping online instead of in the store.

Reports of child pornography rose 127 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to IFPD.

“We do have a lot of pornography — child pornography specifically, in our area and in our city,” Johnson said.

Johnson mentioned that the IFPD recently hired a detective trained in Internet Crimes Against Children.

Idaho Falls also had a slight increase in rape reports and other sex-crimes.

In Bonneville County as a whole, stolen property rose from 20 reports in 2017 to 23 in 2018. Assaults went from 1,050 to 1,156, and sexual crimes had a small increase from 135 to 142.

“There’s always ebb and flow to (crime statistics). It could go up again. It may go down again,” Lovell said. “Our area is growing … with that comes a lot more crime.”

Some eastern Idaho areas saw a significant spike in crime, with Clark and Teton counties seeing some of the biggest increases statewide.

Crime in Clark County jumped up nearly 50 percent. With a population of 866 people, there were 68 drug-related reports and 41 arrests in 2018. That’s 28 more reports than in 2017.

Teton County’s crime jumped more than 78 percent. A spike in drug crimes was one of the most significant contributing factors with 200 reports and 108 arrests. That was 135 more drug-related crime reports in 2018 than in 2017.

This article was originally published on eastidahonews

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