As murder rates rise in cities across America, Minneapolis leads the pack

A couple of weeks back I wrote about how, in Minneapolis, less policing is bringing more crime. Data from the City of Minneapolis, seen in Figure 1, shows that, since the death of George Floyd in police custody on Memorial Day, 23 people have been killed in Minneapolis. This is an increase of 109% over the median average number of homicides in the same period for the previous five years, 11.

Figure 1: Homicides in Minneapolis 

Source: City of Minneapolis

Minneapolis isn’t alone in seeing its murder rate rise like this. In St. Paul in the first six months of 2020, murders were up 42% over the same period in 2019. In Denver, for the same period, murders are up 46%. They are up 31% in Atlanta. Murders in Houston are on track to hit a 5-year high. The Wall Street Journal noted recently:

In Milwaukee, homicides are up 37% so far this year, on pace to break the record of 167 in 1991, which included 16 murders by convicted serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Homicides so far this year in Chicago are ahead of the pace of 2016, which marked the city’s highest tally since 1996. In New York and Los Angeles, which have seen falling numbers of homicides for years, killings this year are up 23% and 11.6%, respectively. Kansas City, Mo., has recorded 99 killings since January, far outpacing any record for the first six months of the year.

But Minneapolis leads the nation, as the graphic below from Fox News last night shows:

It isn’t just homicides that are up. As WCCO reported yesterday:

According to Minneapolis Police Department crime data, there have been 2,170 stolen vehicles this year through July 26. That’s a 46% increase over the same time period in 2019 — when 1,485 auto thefts happened.

There have been 886 robberies, a jump of 36% over the same time last year.

Much of this can be attributed, especially in the case of Minneapolis, to a reduction in policing. If this is what things are like with less policing, imagine what things will be like if some, such as Minneapolis’ city council, get their way and there is no policing at all.

John Phelan is an economist at the Center of the American Experiment.