KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho — Crime in Kootenai County was down 23% in 2020 compared to 2019, according to the Idaho State Police’s crime report released Thursday.
The report is a summary of statewide crime statistics gathered from law enforcement agencies across Idaho, Idaho State Police said in a press release.
According to the report, Kootenai County had the fifth largest drop in crime in 2020 behind Camas, Lincoln, Owyhee and Bear Lake Counties. While crime overall is down, extortion, homicide and embezzlement are up.
Extortion is up 1,200% from 2019 with 13 cases in 2020. Homicides in Kootenai County are up 50% with three total in 2020. Embezzlements in the county are up 10% with 22 cases.
There were also significant drops in counterfeiting, fraud, car thefts and stolen property crimes.
Kootenai County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Ryan Higgins said there are a couple of factors that could have contributed to the decrease in crime.
“First, we are being more pro-active and looking for criminals so they don’t keep committing crimes,” Higgins explained. “Drugs is one of the leading factors in thefts and burglaries, so when we target drug users and put them in jail they are not out committing other crimes.”
The next factor he cited was the COVID-19 pandemic. Higgins said the pandemic led to more people being home and limited the opportunity for criminals to commit property crimes.
Higgins said the increase in certain crimes may be attributed to more awareness and victims reporting the incidents.
“If we don’t know a crime has happened how do we solve the crime,” Higgins explained.