Mayor Rybak, Chief Dolan pleased with continued progress on public safety
Gains over crime continue to grow for second year in a row
July 21, 2008 (MINNEAPOLIS) Mayor R.T. Rybak and Police Chief Tim Dolan today reported that crime rates in Minneapolis continue to fall for the second year in a row. Minneapolis’ crime rates half way through 2008 are significantly lower than 2007 and represent an even more dramatic decline when compared to 2006. Proactive policing, youth violence prevention, and public safety technology are being credited with this decline in crime.
- Through June 2008, citywide violent crime fell 14 percent compared to 2007. This decrease is on top of the 13 percent reduction in violent crime that occurred in 2007 from 2006, representing a 27 percent decline in two years.
- There were 18 murders recorded January through June 2008, a 31 percent drop from 26 homicides at this point in 2007, and a 44 percent change from 32 homicides in 2006.
- Other types of violent crime—rape, robbery and aggravated assaults—have on average seen a 13 percent drop from this time last year.
- Property crimes such as burglary and auto theft remain nearly 16 percent lower than in 2007.
Crime rates have fallen most dramatically in the 4 th precinct of north Minneapolis, where violent crime fell 17 percent in 2008 compared to 2007, and 37 percent compared to 2006.
"We have said that making Minneapolis a safe place to call home would be our highest priority and it has," Mayor Rybak said. "We have invested more city resources, we have focused our efforts, and we have viewed our residents and businesses as partners. The results are clear."
Chief Dolan credited these substantial crime reduction results with the MPDs local precinct and unit commanders, along with work of investigators and officers on the street. "Ultimately, its the tireless work of the officers on the street that makes such a difference and why arrests are up 4 percent," Chief Dolan said. The MPD has added 32 more officers to its ranks this year, bringing the total number of sworn officers to 879, the highest number since 2000.
Proactive policing is making a difference
Several proactive crime-fighting strategies and tools are moving Minneapolis even further away from the higher crime rates of recent years.
Youth crime - Minneapolis’ innovative approach to juvenile crime prevention combines intervention for youth at risk and stricter consequences for those who commit crime. The MPD Juvenile Unit has handled more than 2,000 cases concerning missing and runaway youth, robbery and assault so far this year, meaning a significant number of youth are getting connected to supportive services at the first signs of risky behavior.
"Upstream" strategies to prevent youth violence have been an important priority for the MPD, as well and the entire city government. Minneapolis Blueprint to Prevent Youth Violence is becoming a national model for addressing root causes of violence by drawing on public health strategies of prevention and early intervention.
One of the proactive partners closely connected with the Juvenile Unit is the Juvenile Supervision Center (JSC). The JSC is the first contact for low level youth offenders such as curfew or truancy violators that helps get youth back on track and provide them with the tools and resources to stay out of trouble. The JSC has already served 1,515 juveniles through June of this year.
The Juvenile Unit also coordinates the Juvenile Criminal Apprehension Team made up of MPD, Hennepin County Probation, the Sherriff’s office and US Marshals to address more serious youth offenders. So far this year, the Team brought in 257 juveniles wanted on warrants for serious or violent crime. The Juvenile Unit also conducts home visits with Hennepin County Juvenile Probation to ensure juveniles comply with the terms of their probation.
Technology - Minneapolis continues to be a national leader in the use of public safety technology. There are now more than 135 public safety cameras in strategic areas across Minneapolis, many of which are also connected to gun shot sensors. North Minneapolis, the most recent addition to the City’s public safety camera network, has seen significant crime reduction along Broadway, Lowry, Lyndale, and Penn Avenues.
Strategic operations - The Special Operations Division (SOD) has contributed greatly to the effectiveness of MPD’s proactive policing. SOD is comprised of K-9 Officers, the SWAT Team, the Bomb Unit and the Tactical Patrol to assist local precincts citywide. SOD helps to target additional assistance in situations where more police support is needed. In the past six months SOD Patrol Officers have initiated or answered more than 5,300 calls for service and have made nearly 2,200 arrests – an increase of 275 percent over 2007.
Traffic enforcement - Officers have worked hard to increase their vigilance and response to suspicious people and vehicles. Increased traffic enforcement helps combat crime and has a positive effect on overall public safety. So far this year, the Traffic Unit made more than 17,300 enforcement stops and issued citations for more than 18,000 moving violations.
Community partnerships - Local Precincts have focused on working closely with neighborhood groups to address their specific crime reduction and prevention concerns. Each Minneapolis neighborhood has developed its own Policing Plan which is evaluated and updated annually.
"Our combined strategies of tough enforcement and ‘upstream’ prevention are working," Rybak said. "We will not let up in our fight for security until it’s safe to walk down any street in Minneapolis. We’re making progress but we have much more work to do."
For more information about crime statistics and police initiatives visit the Minneapolis Police Department online.
Published Jul. 21, 2008