For Fifth Year in a Row, Violent Crime Falls in Minneapolis
At mid-year, violent crime down 15 percent citywide and 23 percent in North Minneapolis compared to 2010; driven by focus on youth violence, illegal guns and partnerships
July 18, 2011 (MINNEAPOLIS) Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Police Chief Tim Dolan today released statistics that show that violent crime continues to decline in Minneapolis for the fifth year in a row. As of June 30, violent crime has dropped nearly 15 percent compared to the same point in 2010, after falling to a 27-year low for all of 2010.
Chief Dolan put this year’s decline in violent crime in the context of five years of declines in violent crime. While several large cities are recording drops in crime in recent years, few if any of them can point to Minneapolis’ consistent, five-year drop in crime. "This five-year arc is the biggest story," Chief Dolan said.
Mayor Rybak and Chief Dolan were joined at Fourth Precinct headquarters in North Minneapolis by City Council Member Diane Hofstede, who represents part of North Minneapolis, and Fourth Precinct Inspector Mike Martin. The Fourth Precinct, which covers North Minneapolis, has marked a 23 percent decline in violent crime as of June 30.
As an important component in the citywide drop in violent crime, the number of youth suspects in violent crime has declined 14% since the midpoint of 2010 and 66% since the midpoint of 2006, the recent high-water mark for violent crime and youth crime. Mayor Rybak credited the Citys Youth Violence Prevention initiative — a comprehensive, community-driven approach that treats youth violence as a public-health epidemic, which began in response to an outbreak of youth-driven violence in 2006 — with leading the citywide drop in violent crime.
"Like this summer, the summer of 2006 was hot — but other than that, they are worlds apart. In 2006, we knew we needed to bring the community together to bring down crime and address the epidemic of youth violence. We did that, and we’ve gotten results: every year since then, we’ve seen double-digit drops in youth violence. Five years later, this initiative continues to make Minneapolis safer," Mayor Rybak said.
The drop in violent crime is also led by an ongoing decline in the number of gun incidents, with Minneapolis on track to record a 20 percent drop in gun incidents in 2011 compared to 2010. Mayor Rybak and Chief Dolan credited the success of Project Exile, a partnership between the Minneapolis Police Department, the Hennepin County Attorney and the United States Attorney to arrest and prosecute the most violent gun offenders and get illegal guns off the street. Project Exile began in July 2010 after a spike in gun violence in the first half of that year. City, County and federal officials earlier credited Project Exile’s focus on guns with leading a decline in gun crime in the second half of 2010.
"We want people carrying illegal guns in Minneapolis to continue to feel unsafe," Mayor Rybak said.
Inspector Martin and Council Member Hofstede also credited cooperation and partnership with neighbors, businesses and community organizations as contributing to the decline in violent crime. Inspector Martin cited North Minneapolis revitalized Hawthorne Eco-Village, once the site of a large open-air drug market, as a successful partnership between neighbors, police and many others that has helped significantly to drive down crime. The combined efforts of Minneapolis Police and community partners in the Eco-Village resulted in a 73-percent decline in violent crime in that neighborhood between 2007 and 2009 and an 85-percent decline in drug arrests. Former President Jimmy Carter praised the Eco-Village when he built homes in the neighborhood in October 2010 with Habitat for Humanity.
"Our success in bringing down crime is really about bringing everyone together. It’s a story of community and partnership," said Council Member Hofstede. "We can’t do what we do without community," Inspector Martin added. "We are preventing crime by working with community."
Building strong partnerships leads not only to greater public safety, but more jobs, more successful small businesses and stronger economic development. "They go hand in hand," Mayor Rybak said. "We can’t do one without the other." City economic-development staff and public-safety teams work closely together.
Chief Dolan praised the work of City, County and federal prosecutors who cooperate closely with Minneapolis Police, and police officers themselves. "These five years of decreases in crime are the results of the amazing work of the men and women of the Minneapolis Police Department, and I thank them for it."
Mayor Rybak concluded by praising Chief Dolan’s leadership. "The five-year drop in violent crime has happened on Chief Dolan’s watch and is Chief Dolan’s work," said Mayor Rybak. "Under Chief Dolan, the Minneapolis Police Department has become laser-focused and proactive."
Comprehensive statistics about violent crime citywide and in North Minneapolis at the midpoint of 2011 are available here.
Published Jul. 18, 2011