Minnesota needs judges to put public safety first
Minneapolis needs more cops to help stem the explosion of violent crime in the city. But that will only do so much. There is very little point apprehending violent criminals…
According to city data, there have been 41 homicides in Minneapolis so far in 2021. That is a 46 percent increase on the number for the same period in 2020. It is more than double the average for the same period in the ten years from 2010 to 2019 — 16.
Figure 1: Homicides in Minneapolis, January 1 to June 28
Source: City of Minneapolis
Violent crimes more generally are up 29 percent for the period since the start of 2021 compared to the same period last year. Indeed, violent crime in this period of 2021 is up 44 percent from the average of the same period for the ten years from 2010 to 2019.
If these numbers don’t strike you, consider the stories behind them. Six year old Aniya Allen was shot in the head on her way home from McDonald’s and died in hospital several days later. Nine year old Trinity Ottoson-Smith was shot while she bounced on a trampoline at a friend’s birthday party. She too died in hospital several days later.
And yet, as I’ve noted before, there are those who think that all this is simply “panic.” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D,N.Y., added her voice to this at the weekend. In a Zoom conversation with New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman, she said:
We are seeing these headlines about percentage increases…Now, I want to say that any amount of harm is unacceptable and too much, but I also want to make sure that this hysteria, you know, that this doesn’t drive a hysteria and that we look at these numbers in context so that we can make responsible decisions about what to allocate in that context.
This, as Glenn Greenwald pointed out, is the same AOC who recently voted to enable a $2 billion boost to spending on the Capitol Police, those officers who protect her. Like the Minneapolis City Councillors who voted to abolish the police department while hiring themselves private security at taxpayer expense, it is probably quite easy to dismiss the impact of rising violent crime as “hysteria” when you are so well insulated from it. Too many Minnesotans do not have that privilege.
John Phelan is an economist at the Center of the American Experiment.