Does America fear crime in Minneapolis?

MN Reformer calls attention to this new Gallup poll (scroll down) about American opinions on crime in various cities. The Reformer‘s headline reads,

Americans think Minneapolis is less safe than it used to be

The poll itself ranked 16 large U.S. cities on the question of “do you think ______ is a safe city to visit or live in?”

Dallas and Boston were ranked safest with 74 percent and 72 percent answering “yes”, respectively. Detroit and Chicago were ranked least safe, at 26 and 27 percent of respondents answering “yes.”

Minneapolis fell into 6th place, overall, with a “safe” ranking of 58 percent. The city came in below cities including Las Vegas and Miami, but ranked ahead of New York and Los Angeles.

The Reformer notes that it didn’t used to be this way. When Gallup asked the city safety question back in October 2006, Minneapolis ranked 2nd safest, at 73 percent, behind only Seattle. Detroit was always last, but it’s interesting to note how far up New Orleans has risen, from 15th (28%) to 8th (55%) in the current poll.

The Reformer also notes the partisan breakdown in the poll. 76 percent of Democrats rate Minneapolis as safe, but only 41 percent of Republicans do. That works out to a partisan spread of 35 percent. However, six cities have larger partisan spreads, including Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Washington, and Atlanta. The partisan spread in Philadelphia exactly matches Minneapolis’.

Interestingly enough, the parties’ opinions of crime in Dallas and Miami match almost exactly, with both groups viewing the cities as safe in roughly equal proportions.

The original Gallup piece highlights four cities for “worsening perceptions” of safety: Chicago, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Seattle.

The Reformer picks up this thread,

Americans’ views on crime have long been untethered from the realities of it. Survey respondents consistently believe that crime is increasing, even when it is going down.

The Reformer adds,

The police murder of George Floyd in 2020, coupled with the unrest that followed, provided fertile ground for partisan sensationalism. In the wake of those protests, conservative internet personalities and national media stars descended on Minneapolis as looting and vandalism spread across the city.

Except, in the case of Minneapolis, perception is reality. The City of Minneapolis maintains a useful crime dashboard, updated daily, for crimes reported year-to-date (YTD).

Murder is down. There were 60 recorded up to this point last year, with only 40 so far in 2023.

However, auto thefts are off the chart. YTD 5,733 have been reported in Minneapolis, almost double the three-year average of 3,002.

Burglary, larceny, and robberies are down (or no longer being reported). Assaults, vandalism, and sex offences are up in 2023.

We are long removed from the days of Minnesota being celebrated on the cover of Time,

or Hollywood’s Mary Tyler Moore walking around the lakes without a care in the world.