Minneapolis poised to ring in the new year, unable and unwilling to shake violence

As we close out 2023 one thing remains unchanged — Minneapolis violence. For those wanting to scoff at such a statement, consider the following violence in the past 28 days compared to the same period in 2022, and to the 3-year average:

  • Gunshot Wound Victims:
    — 41 in the past 28 days. That’s a 156% increase over 2022, and a 70% increase over the 3- year average.
  • Assaults:
    — 634 in the past 28 days. That’s a 6% increase over 2022, and an 11% increase over the 3-year average.
  • Murder:
    — 13 in the past 28 days. That’s a 160% increase over 2022, and a 225% increase over the 3-year average.

These increases represent a troubling trend that effectively blunt some of the progress the city had made in 2023. 

Nearly every positive outcome involving crime and violence can be connected to a specific high profile, proactive enforcement strategy that sent would-be criminals into hiding, relatively speaking.

Perhaps the most dramatic example has been in carjackings. A 2022 strategy involving local, state, and federal law enforcement focused on carjacking, combined with federal prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office has led to impressive reductions:

  • Carjacking:
    — Down 42.6% over 2022 year to date numbers, and 32% over the 3-year average.

Add to this – a conservative win as our Sentencing Guidelines Commission voted to increase the penalty for carjacking commensurate with 3rd degree murder – and the tide appears to be turning on this scourge.

This contrasts sharply with the progressive response to crime and violence following the civil unrest of 2020 — a response that demonized policing, and emboldened criminals. The Minneapolis City Council has effectively “defunded” its police through attrition — as they have intentionally failed to incentivize police recruitment, leaving the department down nearly 40% from its effective operating strength. Nothing has been more disastrous for our metro area.

The evidence is clear — proactive law enforcement and firm prosecution of offenders can have a positive effect on crime. Will progressive leaders in Minneapolis and the state acknowledge it and attempt to build off these successful strategies in 2024? There is no more important thing to watch.