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Bismarck Police Department’s 2018 crime and traffic report showed a drop in drunken driving arrests, a statistic Chief Dave Draovitch is pleased to see.

That category fell by more than 35%, going from 590 in 2017 to 380 in 2018. Draovitch said he had several people read the report before its release and that statistic drew many comments.

“They’re out and about and they see a lot more cars sitting in parking lots the next morning,” Draovitch said. He said he didn’t have proof, but that might mean people are more often using ride services to get home.

“If that’s the case, man that is great, that’s exactly what we want,” he said.

The annual report breaks crime into three groups. Serious crimes are further divided into crimes against persons and crimes against property. Overall, reports of crimes against persons fell 1.5%.

“As long as I see downward numbers, I’m happy,” Draovitch said. “The bigger they are the better, but I’ll take any negative numbers.”

Sex offenses in that category were up by a third while aggravated assaults fell by 19%. Crimes against property fell by about 4%.

The number of citations issued to juveniles went from 1,037 in 2017 to 875 in 2018. The subcategories of the juvenile report showed reductions in aggravated assault, vandalism, disorderly conduct and drug violations. Liquor law violations among juveniles dropped from 71 in 2017 to 31 in 2018.

“We like that,” Draovitch said. “We do our best to keep kids out of the system.”

Traffic citations were up by 8.68% to 1,540, a number Draovitch would like to see go down. He said he spent considerable time asking the Legislature for tougher traffic fines. Legislation was passed that allows any government entity with a home rule charter to double the fines set by statute, which he hope will be more of a deterrent.

“We’d like to see more but we’ll gladly take what we got,” he said.

Traffic crashes were down from 3,680 in 2017 to 3,537 in 2018, a drop of 3.89%.

Overall, Draovitch sees the report as a positive one.

“When we see crime and traffic problems going down, that’s good for us and our citizens,” he said.

The report will be available on the department's website this week.

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(Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com)

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