Minneapolis crime spree heading into the new year

Despite all the talk about falling crime rates in the state’s largest city, we are ending the year on a bang.

The latest incident to grab headlines was a shootout inside a tobacco store in Dinkytown in the small hours of Sunday morning. The Star Tribune reports,

Two men in their 20s died and one was hospitalized after gunfire broke out early Sunday in a Dinkytown tobacco store, according to Minneapolis police.

Police said they believe two groups of customers began fighting, which escalated into gunfire, inside Royal Cigar & Tobacco, at 14th Avenue and 4th Street SE.

Dinkytown, of course, is the commercial neighborhood immediately adjacent to the University of Minnesota’s flagship campus. None of the people involved are thought to be U-M students.

Readers may recall my tracking of Dinkytown mayhem (among other hotspots) over the summer. Things seem to have settled down once the Fall semester began. Well, that is, until the gunfire erupted.

The Star Tribune hastens to add that crime is “down” in the neighborhood around the University. But as I keep repeating (because it’s true) citywide, crime is up in 6 of the 10 categories tracked by the official Minneapolis Crime Dashboard.

Much is made of the recent drop in carjackings. However, regular auto thefts add to their annual record with each passing day and now stand at a staggering 7,391 for the year-to-date (through Dec. 4).

Likewise, the categories of homicides, shots fired, and gunshot victims are all down, year-to-date. However, in the past four weeks, Minneapolis has recorded 11 homicides and 45 gunshot victims, well above the levels seen in late fall in recent years.

Sunday afternoon, another (non-fatal) shooting occurred crosstown at the infamous Winner Gas station. KARE-11 reports on this stop on the weekend mayhem tour,

Later Sunday afternoon one man arrived at an area hospital with potentially life-threatening wounds after a shooting at the Winner Gas station at West Broadway and North Lyndale Avenue. 

Toss in another fatal shooting on Lake Street early Monday. Not to be confused with the nonfatal shooting on Lake Street that occurred early Sunday.

Another homicide occurred Saturday night that won’t show up in the Minneapolis totals. That’s because this killing happened in the once-tony suburb of Edina. A man was shot near the Original Pancake House, almost exactly (to the minute) ten days after another homicide occurred three blocks north.

The locals have noticed. The Star Tribune reports,

Starting in January, [Edina police chief Todd] Milburn said, two officers will be stationed in Southdale Center, and the mall’s ownership is planning to build a police substation in the mall. The main Edina police station is about 3 miles away, and Milburn said officers stationed at the mall could respond faster to incidents in the area, such as the two recent killings.

In the Edina incident, a 21-year-old man is in custody, but has not been charged.

And we still have four weeks left in December.