Fruitland police chief on crime

The 2020 Fruitland crime report is seen here. It indicates a combined 337 drug violations in 2020, as well as a 46.43% increase in total offenses compared to 2019. Fruitland Police Chief J.D. Huff cites Oregon’s relaxed drug laws as a direct cause of this increase.

FRUITLAND — As reported in the July 18 edition of the Independent-Enterprise, the Payette County Sheriff’s office and the Payette Police Department gave their input on local statistics reported in the 2020 Crime in Idaho report by the Idaho State Police Uniform Crime Reporting program earlier this month. Sheriff Andy Creech noted that total offenses countywide were down 11.11%, while Payette Police Chief John Plaza noted that crimes of opportunity likely contributed to the county’s rise in stolen property crimes.

Fruitland Police Chief J.D. Huff added his input along with his department’s 2020 crime report in an email Monday. The report shows a total of 451 offenses reported for the year, up 46.43% over 2019.

It also indicates that Huff’s department saw a significant increase in drug and drug equipment violations.

There were 337 total cases in 2020 alone. Huff also shared the department’s 2015 report, which saw 104 drug crimes reported, and its 2014 report in which there were just 59.

“The increase in our drug violations is the direct result of the state of Oregon’s relaxed drug laws,” wrote Huff. “It would seem to me that those who use drugs and need money to support the habit would then turn to theft, thus resulting in an increase in property crimes.”

Regarding the state police report, Huff said individual agencies’ report provide a clearer picture on what crimes are most common in each city.

“It is a better representation of what each agency is experiencing.”

But he also noted that reporting crime remains a work in progress.

“It’s not an exact science, but can provide useful data. The Fruitland Police Department is working very hard to keep our city safe and clean.”

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