While Bellevue and Hailey can celebrate their lowest crime rates in the valley over the past six years, Ketchum, Sun Valley and unincorporated Blaine County have all seen slight rises in crime since a five-year low last year, according to a report by the Idaho State Police released this month.
The State Police conduct an annual Idaho Uniform Crime Report, collecting crime statistics from across the state.
The annual report tracked “offenses,” defined as any incident that resulted in a police report being submitted after a call for service and confirmation that a crime had been committed. Unfounded reports were not counted.
In total, 453 criminal offenses were reported for Blaine County in 2018, an increase of 33 from the year 2017.
Hailey reported a 9.21 percent decrease in offenses from 2017 to 2018 and Bellevue reported a 17.07 percent decrease.
Ketchum reported a 7.5 percent increase with 86 offenses in 2018 compared to 80 in 2017. Sun Valley reported a 36.36 percent increase with 30 offenses reported in 2018 compared to 22 in 2017 and the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office reported a 32 percent increase, with 165 criminal offenses reported in 2018 in comparison to 125 in 2017.
Areas of increased offenses included illegal drug and paraphernalia violations, with Blaine County reporting 11 additional drug violations and 24 additional paraphernalia violations in comparison to 2017. Drug and paraphernalia violations include manufacture, sale and possession.
Blaine County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Will Fruehling said he attributes the increases to a fully staffed patrol force as well as a fully staffed Narcotics Enforcement Team—a multi-jurisdictional task force made up of officers from the Sheriff’s Office and the Ketchum, Hailey and Sun Valley Police Departments.
More than two decades old, NET focuses on drug investigation cases throughout the county. Fruehling said the team has added more full-time people to the force and have further trained patrol officers to look for signs of narcotics when making a traffic stop, and because of that, offenses and arrests have subsequently increased.