Minnesota is experiencing an increase in crime. In the year 2021, 201 murders were reported in the state. This number dropped from 201 in 2010 and 201 in 2012. There were also fewer reported police shootings, as the Department of Public Safety has increased its investigations. Additionally, in 2021, the state started counting carjackings separately from car thefts. There were 779 reported carjacking incidents in 2021.
The recent spike in violence and crime in Minneapolis is alarming, particularly among young people. In one year, 84 people were killed in the city. It was the highest number since the infamous “Murderapolis” years. And the numbers are projected to increase in the years to come, with 67 murders predicted in 2021. One example: Four murders in the span of just 29 hours, including a 12-year-old.
The city’s violence and crime problem are not evenly distributed among all neighborhoods, however. Many of these incidents are committed by small groups of at-risk individuals – often young men without hope of a better future. Many of these acts are concentrated in micro-locations known as “hotspots.” In many cases, young men engage in back-and-to-and-retaliatory violence, often with the use of guns.
The Minneapolis Police Department is taking steps to address this issue. One initiative is known as MAVI (Minneapolis Action on Violence) and it pairs police officers with probation officers. These two groups work together to reduce crime and increase public safety in the city. MAVI’s mission is to prevent violence and criminal activity by reducing the number of young people who are committing crimes.
According to the FBI, property crime in Minneapolis rose 1.9% last year. The metro area ranked #25 for property crime, slightly lower than the national average. The highest crime rate is in Motley, Minnesota, a city with a population of only 700 people. However, this doesn’t mean that Minneapolis is free of crime.
Property crimes in Minnesota include burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and arson. While there were fewer violent crimes this year, Minnesota’s rate of property crimes rose again in 2019. In fact, vehicle theft was the only crime to increase by two-thirds during the past decade. Burglary, however, dropped by 39%, while larceny declined by 17%. Researchers have tied poverty, unemployment, and urbanization to higher property crime rates.
Property crime in Minneapolis is still low compared to national averages, but violence has increased in many neighborhoods. Despite a rise in violent crime, most cities reported their crime rate below the state average. Minneapolis’s downtown west neighborhood, a neighborhood that includes Nicollet Mall, Target Center, and concentrated government buildings, saw a 25% increase in violent crime from 2015 to 2019. Robberies and assaults were the leading culprits, while assaults, robberies, and burglaries increased.
After a court case in which eight North Side residents sued the city for not providing enough police officers, Mayor Jacob Frey announced that he will hire more officers. His announcement came a day before he was scheduled to appear in court to explain why his department is falling short of the minimum number of officers required by its charter.
The Minneapolis Police Department has faced several years of staffing issues. The city has had trouble attracting officers and retaining them. After the murder of George Floyd, the police department lost a number of officers due to retirements, resignations, and disability leaves. As of June 18, the department has only 564 active officers, which is nearly 200 fewer than what its charter mandates.
The Minneapolis Police Department has fallen short of the 731 officers it needs to be based on the city’s population. It had only 612 officers on the payroll at the end of May. And as of late last month, 49 officers were on leave – some for two weeks or more – due to illness or other issues. Additionally, some officers have left the department due to workers’ compensation or family leave.
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted early analysis of crime rates in the Twin Cities. Although initial lockdowns began in March 2020 and were generally eased by May, violent protests in several cities continued. A Minnesota criminologist, David Squier Jones, said the increase in violence could be a result of the pandemic.
The city’s homicide rate increased more than seventy percent last year and is projected to climb another fifty percent this year. However, property crimes were still at low levels. This has led some downtown leaders to see rising crime rates as a barrier to recovery and economic growth. In addition to homicides, aggravated assaults rose by 30 percent in the first half of this year.
The rate of homicide was also higher than usual during the lockdown and the pre-pandemic period. However, the change was not statistically significant at 0.05 levels.