Despite a minor increase from last year, violent crime in Minneapolis in 2012 was at its second-lowest rate since 1983, according to the annual crime statistics report.
The record low was set in 2011, and police credit an increased focus on youth education and a continued effort to remove handguns from the street as main reasons why the violent crime has declined over the years.
“We’re proud of the fact that it’s safer than it has been,” said Mayor R.T. Rybak, who spoke at the city’s annual news conference on crime statistics.
The increased focus on removing illegal weapons from Minneapolis resulted in a 27.5 percent increase in the number of guns inventoried as evidence. The total number of guns in evidence rose from 516 to 658 in 2012.
“We still have top offenders, those that are shooting at [people] and likely going to be shot at, if not shot,” said Police Chief Janee Harteau, who also spoke at the conference.
To assist her in her efforts, Harteau created the Violent Crimes Investigation Division, which is tasked with preventing gun violence and other brutal crimes. She credited the VCID with lowering violent crime among the districts, but Harteau said families still suffer as long as there are violent crimes taking place.
“These stats are not just numbers to me. Each one of them represents not just a crime but a victim,” said Harteau. “Numbers cannot and do not tell the whole story.”
Harteau said police departments in Minneapolis will try different techniques to lower violent crime in the new year. One way in which they hope to lower violent crimes is by getting officers out of their squad cars and onto the street.
“When I worked [at] Chicago and Franklin, I had lots of conversations with people — they told me their life stories. I knew who everybody was. I knew everything they did,” Harteau said. “I got that because I walked up and down the street, not because I drove by in a squad car with the windows rolled up.”
Harteau also said she learned the importance of patrolling the street at different hours of the day. If she developed a routine, drug dealers and other criminals would develop their own show they could avoid her. Harteau said she wants to emphasis random and unscheduled foot patrols in 2013.
Here are some more findings from the 2012 annual report on crime:
- Violent crime rose 4% citywide in 2012 compared to 2011
- The month with the most violent crime was July, while the month with the least violent crime was February.
- Burglary, an enforcement priority of the Minneapolis Police Department in 2012, fell 6% citywide compared to 2011.
- Violent and property crime combined remained stable — rising only 1.3% compared to 2011 — and stayed at levels comparable to the mid-1960s.