The homicide rate in Minnesota rose an alarming 58 percent last year, setting a new record as the state became the epicenter of demands to “define” police after George Floyd’s murder, new data shows.
In 2020, 185 people were murdered statewide, a record high and sharp increase from 117 the year before, according to the state Uniform Crime Report released Tuesday.
It broke the previous record of 183, set in 1995 when Minneapolis was named “Murderapolis” due to its rising homicide rate.
Meanwhile, the number of sworn police officers in Minnesota fell 152 last year from the previous year, a 1.5 percent drop.
The homicide rate in Minnesota jumped a whopping 58 percent last year
A protester marched with defund the police sign last summer in St Paul, Minnesota
The net decline in the number of officers was heavily concentrated in major departments in Minneapolis and St. Paul, cities that together were responsible for 114 of the state killings last year.
Overall, the violent crime rate in Minnesota is up 16.6 percent compared to 2019, involving aggravated assault and robbery and rape.
The rise in violent crime in Minnesota is following similar trends across the country, following last summer’s demonstrations and unrest over the police officer who killed Floyd in Minneapolis.
In New York City, the homicide rate rose 44 percent last year and is on track to rise even higher in 2021.
Los Angeles reported 349 homicides in 2020, a 20 percent jump and the most the city has seen in more than a decade.
In the Midwest, some cities saw even bigger leaps. Murders in Chicago rose 50 percent in 2020 and in Milwaukee they nearly doubled, breaking the city’s previous record in 1991 by more than 14 percent.
St. Louis last year recorded the highest homicide rate ever per capita, surpassing the 1993 record.
Nationally, homicide rates rose by 42 percent in the summer and 34 percent in the fall compared to 2019, according to a November survey of 28 cities by the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice.
A graph shows the relationship of perpetrators of murder to victims last year
Pistols were the most commonly used murder weapons in Minnesota
Minnesota State Patrol members stand guard with batons in hand during a demonstration on the state capitol grounds last June
The FBI’s unified crime report on national statistics has not yet been released with final crime statistics for 2020.
The new Minnesota report does not provide an analysis of the reasons for the increase in crime, but mostly sticks to raw statistics, leaving it to politicians and activists to discuss the meaning behind the disturbing numbers.
Republican lawmakers have blamed Democrats and Democratic Governor Tim Waltz in particular for the surge in homicide rates in the state.
“This is why you can’t take crime softly,” East Gull Lake Senate leader Paul Gazelka said in a statement. “It’s hard to see these numbers for arson, theft and assaults on the police and ask yourself: Would it have been better if Governor Walz had stopped the riots right away last year?”
“Today’s report confirms what we’ve been talking about in the Senate for years: Violent criminals find more victims and lenient accountability in the judiciary isn’t keeping people safe,” Republican State Senator Warren Limmer, Senate President of Public Safety and Security Officer, said in a statement. Judiciary Committee, told the Star Stand.
According to the report, 75 percent of state homicides were committed with weapons last year, up from 69 percent in 2019.
The “clearance rate” of homicides was 65 percent of cases resulting in arrests, in line with last year’s 64 percent but below the closure rates from 2016 to 2018.
A protester holds an inverted American flag during a march against racism and police brutality and to punish Minneapolis police in Minneapolis on June 12, 2020
The motive for most murders remained unknown in Minnesota, followed by arguments
More than half of all murder victims were black in Minnesota last year. The number of murdered black people in the state is up 64% from the previous year, a sharp increase
A graph shows murderers by race from 2016 to 2020
The report also noted a nearly 54 percent increase in arson to 710 fires after several years of decline.
The number of car thefts rose nearly 20 percent to 13,662, the highest number since 2005, amid an increase in car thefts.
The value of stolen property rose nearly 55 percent to $216 million, with large increases in thefts of food, personal care products, cash and vehicles.
Bias crimes hit the highest rate in 15 years, with 223 incidents reported and 41 percent motivated by bias against black people.
Attacks against officers on duty rose 62 percent to a record 667.
There were 31 shooting incidents involving officers in 2020, six more than the year before, spread almost evenly across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area and greater Minnesota.
There were 45 incidents of violence that involved gunshots or resulted in serious injury or death.
Nine resulted in death, nine in serious injuries and five involved gunshot wounds. The report said 21 of the subjects were white, 14 black, three Native Americans and three Asian, while the races of five were unknown.
Crime rates were generally much higher for the state’s eight designated metropolitan areas than for rural Minnesota. They were 10 times higher for homicides and motor vehicle thefts and 14 times higher for robberies.
The sharp increases after improvements in recent years have been alarming to Bill Hutton, executive director of the Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association and a former Washington County sheriff.
“As a society we have to look very hard at this,” Hutton said in an interview. “Of course we have to work together, so the community and policy makers, and we have to come up with solid plans to curtail this and do it better.”