F.B.I.’s 2020 crime report paints a grim picture for Minnesota

A couple of weeks ago, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released its annual report on crime in the United States in 2020. What did the report say about Minnesota?

Violent Crime

The rate of All Violent Crimes in Minnesota rose for a second consecutive year, to 277.5 per 100,000 people. Between 2019 and 2020, the United States’ violent crime rate increased by 4.6 percent while the increase in Minnesota was 16.8 percent. As Figure 1 shows, this is still below the national rate – 398.5 – but by less than it was. In 2018, Minnesota’s violent crime rate was 42.3 percent lower than the national rate: in 2020, the gap was just 30.1 percent.

Figure 1:

Source: FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program


The surge in the United States’ homicide rate was more than matched in Minnesota. As Figure 2 shows, the rate rose from 5.1 to 6.5 nationally – an increase of 27.4 percent – and from 2.3 to 3.4 in Minnesota – an increase of 47.8 percent.

Figure 2:

Source: FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program


The statistics for robbery were also striking. While the rate for the United States has fallen every year since 2016, as Figure 3 shows it has risen in Minnesota in every year since 2018: unlike the previous measures, here we are moving in the opposite, worse, direction than the country as a whole. In 2018, our state’s rate of robbery was 39.0 percent lower than the national rate, in 2020 the gap was down to just 7.3 percent. While the national rate of robbery fell by 9.7 percent in 2020, in Minnesota it increased by 22.5 percent.

Figure 3:

Source: FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program

Aggravated Assault

Minnesota’s rate of Aggravated Assault is now up 35.8 percent from 2018. As Figure 4 shows, while the rate of aggravated assault rose by 11.7 percent in 2020 nationally, in Minnesota it rose by 23.3 percent.

Figure 4:

Source: FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program

Property Crime

Property crime is another category where Minnesota has moved in the opposite direction to the the United States as a whole: and a worse one. As Figure 5 shows, where the United States saw its property crime rate fall by 8.1 percent in 2020 – as it has fallen in every year since 2001 – our state’s rate increased by 1.6 percent. In 2020, for the first time since at least 1985, Minnesota’s property crime was above the national average.

Figure 5:

Source: FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program

These numbers were driven by rates of Arson, Larceny Theft, and Motor Vehicle Theft which were all higher in Minnesota than nationally. The one category of property crime where our state’s rate was below that of the United States was Burglary, but this is no cause for celebration. As Figure 6 shows, nationally the burglary rate has fallen in every year since 2011. But, while it fell nationally to 314.2 in 2020, in Minnesota it rose to 307.0.

Figure 6:

Source: FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program

It is true that violent crime is rising across the country, but it also true that the increase is particularly acute in Minnesota. And, where property crime rates continue to fall nationwide, they are rising in our state. Too often our state and local policymakers try to get off the hook by saying that this is a national problem they can do nothing about. The data say otherwise.