Minneapolis crime data: lies, damn lies, and statistics

We dig deep into the city’s crime numbers.

A Twitter (X) commenter captured an image late last week of the city’s official Crime Dashboard.

I draw your attention to the various categories of “homicide.” The first column of numbers shows statistics for 2023 (through December 30), while the second column represents 2022. After the above snapshot was taken, Minneapolis added a final murder for 2023 arising from a New Year’s Eve-brawl at a Marcy Holmes-area deli. Another murder was added to the 2023 total when a gunshot wound victim from December died in hospital in January.

So, Minneapolis ended 2023 with 86 murders and 1 justifiable homicide, the latter of which is not a crime. In 2022, Minneapolis had 83 murders, with 3 justifiable homicides, the latter of which is not a crime. Under the commonly understood definition of murder, killings were up in Minneapolis in 2023 (86 to 83), though below the three-year, post-Covid/post-George Floyd average.

Murders in Minneapolis in the 2020s are roughly double the level seen in the late-2010s.

But a curious anomaly appears in the city’s historical crime database, known as the Legacy Crime Dashboard. Under the crime of homicide, 2023 lists a figure of 74, which excludes two categories. For 2022, the dashboard lists 86 homicides, which includes all three categories.

So Minneapolis has unilaterally redefined the category of homicide and the definition of crime. While actual murders were up last year, the official statistics show they were down, and this “homicides are down” mantra is repeated by politicians and media alike, even though it is based on a lie.

Back to the snapshot above, a simple addition of the crimes listed for each year shows 41,024 crimes in 2023, and 40,566 crimes in 2022.

But, again, the “Legacy” numbers tell the opposite story. In each of the narrower categories of “violent” crime, and “property” crime, 2023 figures were lower than 2022 numbers. But those two categories, violent and property, cover only about half of the total crimes tracked by the city on a daily basis.

Whatever, we are off and running in 2024. Minneapolis has already recorded its first murder of the year, matching last year through the first three days.

One of the city’s first gunshot wound cases recorded in 2024 is a particularly unfortunate one. James William Turner, Jr., has been charged with two felony counts of discharging his AR-15 rifle on New Year’s Day in a city street and striking an 11-year-old girl in her nearby home. Strictly speaking, Turner shouldn’t have a gun, owing to his felony conviction back in July in an unrelated case. A search of Turner’s name in the state’s judicial database reveals felony convictions in four different cases dating back to 2007.

Strictly speaking, Turner shouldn’t have been on that street on New Year’s Day. The most recent of his four felony convictions (for assault) was the subject of a downward departure, resulting in probation, a stayed sentence, and a dismissed firearm felony charge. Anoka Judge Dyanna Street approved the light sentence in July 2023, which would have otherwise resulted in a prison term of just under four years. His $488 fine in that case remains unpaid.

He was released early (Covid) from probation in his August 2019 felony conviction (stayed sentence) in July 2022, despite admitting to a probation violation. $136 in fines remain unpaid from that case.

Turner’s drug-related 2014 felony conviction resulted in a stayed sentence. A $78 fine in that case remains unpaid. His felony conviction in that 2007 forged check case (another stayed sentence) featured at least three probation violations.

In every other category, though, crime is down in Minneapolis in 2024, except for burglary, which is up by one, over last year.

Fingers crossed!