Minneapolis nears annual record for auto thefts. And it’s only September.

Last year saw the City of Lakes suffer through a record 6,138 auto thefts, according to city statistics.

The official Minneapolis Crime Dashboard indicates that the city is only about a week away from crossing that mark. As of Sept. 12, the figure stood at 5,970. For 2023, Minneapolis has averaged a stolen car per hour, 24/7. Based on that rate, Minneapolis should set the new record by the end of next week, with more than three months of the year yet to go.

Curiously, this surge in auto thefts occurs during an interval where, statewide, crime levels are down. Yesterday, the state’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) issued its 2022 Uniform Crime Report. The BCA report shows that, overall, violent crime rates are down almost 9 percent, and property crime rates are down 4 percent, statewide. However, crime rates remain well above their pre-Covid/George Floyd levels.

Local media took note of the BCA report. The Star Tribune reported,

Minnesota’s violent crime went down in 2022, but not significantly, new BCA report finds

The one glaring exception is in the category of auto theft. The BCA reports (p. 7) that, statewide for 2022, 16,743 auto thefts were recorded, an increase of almost 13 percent over 2021.

The BCA breaks down this number by county (p. 11). In the 80 Minnesota counties outside the metro area, auto thefts were down by almost 19 percent last year. In the 7-county metro area, auto thefts were down in four counties. Only Dakota, Hennepin, and Ramsey saw increases.

Of course, the biggest increase occurred in Hennepin, and its largest city, Minneapolis. Hennepin County saw a nearly 29 percent increase in auto theft last year.

Minneapolis is the state’s largest city, but it represents only a little over 7 percent of the state’s population. Last year more than a third (36 percent) of the state’s stolen cars were stolen inside the Minneapolis city limits. That works out to a per capita rate 5 times the state average.

This year, the trend has only accelerated. As of yesterday, auto theft in Minneapolis, year-to-date, was running 54 percent above last year’s elevated level, and nearly double the level of the previous three years.

We hear a lot about how “crime is down” in Minneapolis, with a focus on the falling murder rate. But of the 10 categories tracked by the city’s Dashboard, five are up and five are down.

Murders and weapons violations have fallen (which is nice). Burglaries, larcenies, and robberies are also down, or at least not being reported as often. However, assaults, vandalism, and sex offences are up. Along with auto theft, stolen property crimes are also on the rise.

Five up and five down.

One bright spot in the BCA report on auto thefts was the subcategory of carjacking (p. 25). This category wasn’t defined before 2021. In 2022, 598 carjackings were reported in Minnesota, fewer than the 779 reported in 2021. Of the 598, 79 percent (470) were reported in Minneapolis. St. Paul reported 53. No other city recorded a number in double digits.

Despite the dip, it was a carjacking in Minneapolis that made international news last week. Local Democratic party official Shivanthi Sathanandan was injured by a carjacking in the north Minneapolis neighborhood of Folwell Park.

Her subsequent sudden conversion to the pro-police cause was the subject of an editorial in the New York Post last weekend. In explaining the situation in Minneapolis to their national readership, the Post linked to a piece I wrote a year ago. The Post editors write,

The victims of the increased crime in Minneapolis are (as they are in other large cities) disproportionately black, with recent stats showing about 65% of murder victims are black in a city that’s 63% white. 

It’s clear someone’s systematically failing the black community here. 

Based on the newly released BCA report, I updated those stats yesterday.

The Nicholas Cage movie Gone in 60 Seconds never received an official sequel. Its time has come.