Idaho crime rate slips 1.5 percent in 2012

BOISE, Idaho (AP) Idaho's overall crime rate slipped 1.5 percent in 2012, as law enforcement leaders said a decrease in the rate of simple assaults helped offset rising violent crimes and drug cases.

That's according to the Idaho State Police's annual report entitled "Crime in Idaho," released Tuesday.

The crime rate is 5,086 per 100,000 residents.

Idaho has the second-lowest rate in the West. Only Utah had a lower crime rate, based on the most-recently available numbers.

The state police agency collects and distributes the data annually, in part in a bid to help local law enforcement agencies decide where best to put resources.

"Our hope is that the publication will continue to provide law enforcement some assistance in determining their priorities in the fight against crime," said ISP Col. Ralph Powell.

The number of violent crimes like rape and aggravated assault last year increased 5.2 percent from 2011, with 3,242 violent crime offenses reported to law enforcement.

But that was offset by a 4.1 percent decrease of simple assault offenses, which account for more than two-thirds of crimes against persons in the state.

Statewide, there were 27 murders in 2012. That's down from 31 in 2011.

There were 8,039 drug and narcotics arrests, up 1.8 percent from the previous year.

Kootenai County in northern Idaho had the highest crime rate in the state, followed by Nez Perce County and Valley County in northcentral Idaho.

Ada County, the state's most-populous county, was 10th, with neighboring Canyon County having the seventh-highest crime rate.

Butte County, with its seat in Arco in central Idaho, had the lowest reported crime rate.

In 2011, hate crimes saw a 26 percent jump to 39 cases.

But the situation improved in 2012, with the number of reported cases falling to 36, according to this latest report.

And there were 240 reported assaults on law enforcement officers in 2012, compared to 242 in 2011.