BOISE, Idaho — Idaho's overall crime rate dropped slightly according to the latest Idaho State Police "Crime in Idaho" report.
The report, released Tuesday, details the number and types of crimes tallied by local law enforcement agencies across the state.
Overall, the crime rate in 2018 dropped by nearly 2% compared to the previous year, with significant decreases in the rates of property crimes, hate crimes, and assaults on law enforcement officers. Violent crimes, meanwhile, increased by nearly 2%.
Still, the overall crime rate drop is likely impacted by Idaho's rapidly growing population. The state had roughly 1.75 million residents last year, an increase of more than 42,000 residents compared to the previous year.
"We think the big takeaway is that while the crime rate is down somewhat this year compared to last year, that may very well be because of the increase in population," Idaho State Police spokesman Tim Marsano said. "In other words, we're watching closely to see if that reduction is a temporary phenomenon. Sure hope it's not."
Still, the state has the lowest violent crime rate in the western United States, Marsano said, with about 226 violent crimes for every 100,000 people.
"If you compare that to other states — for example, Alaska, which has 829 violent crimes per 100,000 people — it makes Idaho even more attractive to newcomers than it already is," Marsano said.
According to the report, property crime rates dropped by about 6.5%. Hate crimes also decreased, with 26 hate crimes reported in 2018. That's a 49% decrease from the number of hate crimes reported in 2017.
Thirty-one murders were reported statewide last year, with 17 arrests.