Violent crime up in Maple Grove, Robbinsdale, Crystal, New Hope, Brooklyn Center, and Brooklyn Park

Recently, I wrote about how the rise in violent crime in the Twin Cities is spreading to the suburbs. That was inspired by a spree of carjackings in Woodbury and Maplewood, but last week, CCX Media reported:

In Maple Grove, police say there have been at least 13 vehicles stolen in the past few months. They also expect the crimes to increase as the weather turns colder.

“[Thefts] happen all over the city. They happen in residential areas…,” said Maple Grove police Cmdr. Jon Wetternach.

In Robbinsdale, the city has seen a 200 percent increase in vehicle thefts from September through Nov. 15. Robbinsdale police documented 15 thefts during that time period. Last year during that same period, the city had 5 such cases.

Police officials with Crystal, Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park also tell CCX News that they have seen a spike in vehicle thefts over the past few months.

Sadly, this isn’t confined to carjackings. In a Special Report, CCX Media notes that:

Gunfire, yellow crime tape and wailing police sirens have become all too common sights. Not just in Minneapolis or St. Paul, but in the northwest suburbs. Police in the area say gun violence is at an all-time high. According to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, violent crime has increased 24 percent in the past two years in Hennepin County.

“I’ve never seen the amount of violent crime we’ve seen in the last two years,” said Crystal Police Chief Stephanie Revering.

“I don’t think there’s a night that the news isn’t reporting somebody is shot, or there was a shooting or some kind of critical incident isn’t happening in the metro area,” said New Hope Police Chief Tim Hoyt.

In New Hope:

Chief Hoyt says violent crime has gone up significantly over the last six months in New Hope. That includes a carjacking near a residential area. The city has also had two shootings in the last couple months where more than 30 rounds were fired at each scene.

One of those shootings happened Oct. 12 in broad daylight at the Holiday gas station off Bass Lake Road and Nevada Avenue.

“Stray bullets were going through our gas station, stray bullets going through back windows of people’s cars. Thankfully, nobody was hit,” said Hoyt. “It’s kind of astounding that they’re going out in broad daylight and shooting at each other and putting other people in harm’s way, and it’s happening everywhere.”

In Crystal:

…gun violence and other serious crimes are also on the rise.

Crystal Police Chief Stephanie Revering said violence crime has gone up almost 30 percent in her city since 2019.

In one incident on May 14, at about 3 p.m., two people fired shots outside a strip mall near 42nd and Brunswick Avenues North. Police think the gunmen were coming from Minneapolis and possibly arguing over a drug deal gone bad.

“We’re not Minneapolis or St. Paul, but suburban Hennepin County agencies are seeing that increase as well,” said Revering, who’s also head of the Hennepin County Chiefs of Police Association.

In Robbinsdale:

…police are seeing the same disturbing trend. Last year the city had no homicides. This year, so far, the city has had two.

“Our officers are tired, they’re definitely working harder,” said Robbinsdale Police Chief Patrick Foley.

Security video captured a Feb. 14 shooting incident on the 3700 block of Quail Avenue North. A person in a white sedan opened fire on a driver in a black SUV. The gunman quickly left the scene and the victim was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Police don’t think the gunman and victim knew each other.

Robbinsdale police also report a rise in motor vehicle thefts. From September through Nov. 15, there have been 15 such cases. During the same period last year, there were five.

In Brooklyn Center, officials say violent crime has increased more than 20 percent this year.

Meanwhile, in Maple Grove, weapons-related crimes have surged. Such crimes are up 24 percent, from 29 in 2020 to 36 so far this year. This figure includes people prohibited from having a firearm who are caught with one. 

Maple Grove police say while violent crime overall in that city has stayed relative the same over the last three years, the types of crimes have changed.

“We have seen some very unusual incidents for our community that is representative of the broader crime trends in the metro area,” said Maple Grove police Cmdr. Jon Wetternach.

Wetternach says that includes a recent shooting at a gas station, a carjacking incident and a shooting at a hotel.

Last week, in the east metro, the police department in Cottage Grove shared the following message on Facebook:

Residents of much of the state have been able to look at the mounting chaos in the Twin Cities and feel a relative safety that comes from distance. They will not be able to do so indefinitely. We will look at why this is happening tomorrow.