The “Oil Belt” of North Dakota has a problem with rising crime rates, particularly in the realms of organized drug trafficking and prostitution. The growing problem has already gained attention in and assistance from federal level agencies. However, officials in law enforcement at the local and state levels, in a meeting with Republican Senator John Hoeven in Williston, said it has not been enough.
Both the DEA and the FBI have sent officials and investigators to assist in North Dakota previously, but local officials say that these visits have been too short term and that they, the locals on scene, often have too few resources and personnel to handle the growing problem. They forwarded their wish that these federal agencies establish permanent footholds in the area, citing that the average two to three week visits from federal investigators is barely enough time to acclimate to the region and nowhere near enough to make any lasting and positive change.
Steps have been taken previously to help improve the conditions in the areas at risk, including state and federal funds to increase the amount of officers statewide as well as federal funds to assist with infrastructure issues like roads and housing. However, officials in law enforcement locally in those areas say it is still not enough and that permanent federal agency presence is required to have lasting impact on the problems.
Senator Hoeven is hopeful and says he expects the FBI to be able to accommodate the request soon. The DEA has said that is sympathetic to the plea and wants to provide the requested assistance, but at present its resources are strained and any help they could provide would have to wait until cuts could be performed elsewhere to free the resources.