Violent crime up 19% in Minneapolis

A little over a year ago, research suggested Minneapolis was in for a rise in violent crime. Sadly, that has come to pass.

Figure 1 shows the percentage change in a range of crimes in Minneapolis for the period Jan. 1, 2021, to Sept. 13, 2021, compared to an average of the same period for the years 2015 to 2019 (2020 was well above average in some of these categories, especially arson). It shows that, so far this year, burglary and larceny, which account for the large majority of property crimes, are both down on the 2015-2019 average so that, overall, property crimes are down.

It is a different story for violent crimes. Rape and domestic aggravated assault are both down so far in 2021 on their average for the same period for 2015-2019, but, in that period, they accounted for only 30 percent of violent crimes. In each of the other categories of violent crime, Minneapolis is doing worse in 2021. Robbery is up 16 percent this year over the average for the same period in 2015-2019, aggravated assault is up 29 percent, and homicide is up by a staggering 131 percent.

Figure 1: Change in crime in Minneapolis, January 1, 2021-September 13, 2021, compared to average of same period for 2015-2019

Source: City of Minneapolis

There have been 67 homicides in Minneapolis so far this year. The Star Tribune wrote recently that “residents across Minneapolis…are now in the throes of what is shaping up to be overall the most violent two-year period in a generation.” But:

The murder count represents only a small fraction of gun crimes. Data show a record number of gunshot wounds reported since last year. In the first six months of 2021, Minneapolis surpassed shots fired citywide in all of 2019, according to ShotSpotter activations, shooting reports and other data tracked by local law enforcement agencies. This year is on track to surpass 2020s record-high 9,600 gunfire reports. The past 20 months now account for almost a quarter of the 70,000 gunshot incidents reported in Minneapolis since 2008.

Liberals — especially those in the suburbs — often dismiss this as “panic.” And you can see why this notion might persist:

If not for the grisly news reports, many residents in Minneapolis may not have noticed the violence. Nearly 90% of the gunfire reports since 2020 came from five neighborhood clusters: Near North, Camden, Powderhorn, Phillips and Central. An analysis of gunfire incidents by census blocks further revealed how specific locations are driving up the citywide numbers. 

But just because you can look away doesn’t mean that you should. Tomorrow, I’ll look at why violent crime is surging in Minneapolis.