Crime in Minneapolis Remains at Lowest Levels in Decades
Violent crime in 2012 is at second-lowest level in 29 years; Part I crime stays at levels comparable to 1960s
Effective policing and partnership credited
January 4, 2013 (MINNEAPOLIS) — Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Police Chief Janeé Harteau today released statistics showing that violent crime in 2012 was at the second-lowest level since 1983, and only slightly higher than the recent low of 2011. In addition, Part I crime (violent and property crime together) remains at low levels comparable to the mid-1960s.
“It takes a whole city to keep a whole city safe,” said Mayor Rybak. “Much of our progress in 2012 in keeping crime at historically low levels is due to effective partnerships between police and community. As we look ahead, we will meet the same challenges in 2013 with the same kind of collaboration.”
“There’s not one thing we do to prevent and fight crime, there are many things, but among the most important are enforcement, prevention and partnership,” Chief Harteau said. “As we move forward, we will build on our success and heighten our focus on service.
“We are not a drive-through police department,” Chief Harteau added. “Our response to the people will serve will be not only quick, but thorough and good.”
“While these numbers are good, even one crime is too many,” Chief Harteau stressed. “Behind these numbers I see not just crimes, but victims.”
Highlights of the 2012 year-end crime statistics that Mayor Rybak and Chief Harteau released today include:
- The number of violent crimes committed in 2012 was lower than any year since 1983, with the exception of 2011.
- Violent crime rose 4% citywide in 2012 compared to 2011.
- The largest decline in violent crime took place in the Fifth Precinct, where it fell 17.7% compared to 2011.
- Violent and property crime combined (Part I crime) remained flat — rising only 1.3% compared to 2011 — and stayed at levels comparable to the mid-1960s.
- Burglary, an enforcement priority of the Minneapolis Police Department in 2012, fell 6% citywide compared to 2011.
- The largest decline in burglary took place in the Second Precinct, where it fell 12% compared to 2011.
- This decline in burglary in 2012 erases a rise in burglary in 2011 and brings it back to the lower levels of 2009 and 2010.
- The numbers of youth diverted for curfew and truancy violations increased 34% in 2012 compared to 2011.
- The number of guns recovered increased 27.5% in 2012 compared to 2011.
Mayor Rybak and Chief Harteau released these statistics in Minneapolis’ Fifth Precinct — the neighborhoods west of I-35W and south of Bryn Mawr and Loring Park — which experienced the greatest drop in violent crime in 2012 of any of the city’s five police precincts.
Violent crime in the Fifth Precinct fell by 17.7% compared to 2011, including:
- A 15% drop in robbery;
- A 23% drop in domestic assaults;
- A 32% drop in non-domestic aggravated assaults.
In addition, Fifth Precinct police officers focused on youth curfew violations in 2012, increasing arrests and diversions by 62%.
Assistant Chief Matthew Clark, who served as Fifth Precinct inspector for most of 2012, attributed much of the drop in crime in the area to a focus on “hot spots”:
- In the Stevens Square neighborhood, violent crime fell 57%, gun crime 53%, robbery 50%, aggravated assault 50%, and burglary 37%. In addition, robbery and aggravated assault in Stevens Square, which also feel by half, are at their lowest levels since 1999.
- Along Lake Street from Pleasant Avenue to Stevens Avenue, violent crime fell 28%, including declines of 44% in domestic assaults and 50% in non-domestic aggravated assaults.
Assistant Chief Clark also credited strong partnerships between community members and police. Marian Biehn, a member of the Whittier Alliance, praised the department’s “ongoing commitment to collaboration and high levels of enforcement,” and Bryan Anderson, board chair of the Stevens Square Community Organization, spoke of the effectiveness of the “multiyear partnership” and the “friendly interaction” between police and neighbors there.
Similarly, Inspectors Bryan Schaefer and Bruce Jensen credited community collaboration for the 12% drop in burglary in the Second Precinct, which includes all neighborhoods east of the Mississippi River. Chief Harteau said nonetheless that she is “not satisfied” with the drop in burglary, and pledged that the tactics that have been proven successful in combating in some parts of the city will be brought to the parts of city that have seen less success against burglary.
Deputy Chief Ed Frizell, who along with Deputy Chief Kristine Arneson was inspector of the First Precinct in 2012, also highlighted the success of the combined efforts of law-enforcement, legal and regulatory staff, youth-service organizations, business organizations and others in reversing a rise in crime in downtown Minneapolis. After an upswing in violent crime there during the first half of 2012 — driven early in the year by so-called youth “click mobs” and in the middle of the year by a few problem bars and clubs which later closed — these combined efforts helped drive down violent crime downtown during the second half of 2012 below levels recorded during the same period in 2011.
In fact, were it not for the rise in violent crime downtown in the first half of the year, the total number of violent crimes citywide would have remained flat in 2012.
Mayor Rybak said, “We do our best to prevent crime before it happens, but our success downtown shows that when we can’t prevent it, we will attack it and know how to partner to bring it down.”
Mayor Rybak said that the department’s success in diverting youth for curfew and truancy violations should be seen as part of Minneapolis five-year Youth Violence Prevention efforts, which among other results has seen the number of youth involved in violent crime decline 59% from 2006–2011. Mayor Rybak pledged that he will soon release an outside review of Minneapolis youth violence prevention efforts as the work enters its sixth year. Of the department’s efforts to fight gun violence, Chief Harteau highlighted the 27.5% increase in guns entered into evidence in 2012. She also discussed the department’s focus on shots fired and tracing guns. Mayor Rybak added he and the City of Minneapolis are active on many fronts in the effort to reduce illegal guns and gun violence. Among those efforts is a regional gun summit next Thursday in Minneapolis that is co-hosted by the mayors and police chiefs of Minneapolis and Milwaukee and will bring together their colleagues from several states in the upper Midwest. Chief Harteau, who began her full three-year term as police chief this week, said that her priorities for 2013 will be improving the service that police deliver to the public, aligning the department with a common vision and set of goals, evaluating the effectiveness of crime-fighting strategies, and a continued focus on reducing violent crime, sex crime and gun violence.
While violent crime remains at historically low levels, Chief Harteau reiterated that the killer of 3-year-old Terrell Mayes, Jr., who was killed in his home by a stray bullet on December 26, 2011, has not yet been arrested. Chief Harteau said that she keeps Terrell’s photo on her desk as a daily reminder.
At the event, Chief Harteau introduced many members of her new management and command “dream team.” “They’re not here by accident,” she said, “they’re here because they’ve earned it.”
Mayor Rybak added, “While Chief Harteau and this great team will face challenges and tough situations, I’m confident that they have the intelligence, dedication and leadership skills to overcome them.”
Published Jan. 4, 2013