MINOT, N.D. (AP) - The flooding that has kept many Minot residents out of their homes has led to a rise in burglaries and other property crimes, a police official said.
Many neighborhoods flooded by the Souris River this summer remain uninhabited, meaning there are not many people around to keep a watchful eye, Police Chief Jeff Balentine said.
In the first seven months of the year, burglary complaints rose from 15 in 2010 to 32 this year, auto thefts increased from 24 to 50 and the number of calls for police service jumped from about 3,500 to nearly 4,700.
``We have been trying to get as much visibility out there to cut crime as best we can,'' Balentine said during a City Council meeting earlier in the week. ``We know this is going to be a trying time for the city of Minot.''
The Souris River, swollen by heavy spring snowmelt and rain, swamped much of the city, damaging about 4,100 homes and businesses and forcing thousands to temporarily leave. As the city slowly begins its recovery, Balentine is urging residents to keep their homes and vehicles locked.
``We just need to take a little bit of time ... to protect ourselves,'' he said. ``Our community is changing. There's no doubt about that. We have to change with it.''
City police are being assisted by Border Patrol and other federal agents. Balentine said he has changed shifts so that more officers are on the streets at night.