Twin Cities rocked by uptick in serious crimes
The Twin Cities were rocked by an increase in serious crime in 2020, as metropolitan areas across the country grappled with a surge in violence.
By the numbers: Violent crime, which includes homicide and assault, was up 21% in Minneapolis in 2020, while property crimes climbed 10%, the Star Tribune reported yesterday.
- St. Paul saw an even bigger jump: Violent incidents were up nearly 25% and property crimes rose 15%, per stats released by the city last month.
The big picture: It's not just Minneapolis and St. Paul. The murder rate in large cities across the country was up 30% in 2020, an analysis from the Council on Criminal Justice and Arnold Ventures found.
- Violent crimes in Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia hit troubling heights, but other metros with similar sizes to Minneapolis struggled, too.
- Oakland logged its deadliest year in a decade, while Tulsa recorded its highest homicide rate in nearly 30 years.
Driving the trend: It's impossible to know for sure, but experts say the pandemic is likely playing a big role nationwide, per Star Tribune and other outlets. The timing also suggests the public response to George Floyd's May 25 killing, including a lack of faith in police, could be a factor.
- "The increase tends to occur in nearly every city at the very end of May and the first days of June. The size and abruptness of the increase are unprecedented," Richard B. Rosenfeld, a University of Missouri at St Louis professor, told The Washington Post in December.
- A similar uptick was seen after widespread protests over the 2014 fatal shooting of Michael Brown by police in Ferguson, Missouri, Rosenfeld noted.
Of note: Here in Minneapolis, attrition troubles have left MPD down roughly 200 active officers during the crime wave.
State of play: It's too soon to tell if the trend will hold, but high-profile incidents continued to dominate local headlines in the first five weeks of 2021.
- St. Paul recorded a triple homicide late last month, and the weekend saw two cases of cars being stolen with children inside. In one, a baby was found hours later thanks to a hero grandmother.
- A Sunday Facebook post about burglars hitting St. Paul's Gnome Pub for the second time in two months went viral.
What's next: The City Council is expected to vote this week on a request to unlock funding for MPD to hire more officers.
- Meanwhile, expect crime trends to play a central role in the upcoming mayor's race and the debate over a proposed charter amendment to replace MPD with a new public safety division.
Go deeper: A deep dive on crime in Minneapolis, including a ward-by-ward breakdown (Star Tribune)
This story first appeared in the Axios Twin Cities newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.
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