Homicides down significantly in Minnesota

Published 5:46 pm Tuesday, September 26, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS — New data from the FBI shows a significant drop in the number of homicides in Minnesota.

While violent crime remained relatively unchanged in Minnesota, homicides dropped about 25 percent from 2015 to 2016, per 100,000 residents. Minnesota’s rate of decline was third highest nationwide, behind North Dakota and Connecticut.

Last year, there were 101 homicides statewide, down from 131 in 2015. Minnesota is among seven states where violent crime rates remained flat last year, meaning they changed by less than 1 percent, the Star Tribune reported . Eleven states saw crime decline.

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“We’re holding steady,” said Kelly Mitchell, executive director of the University of Minnesota’s Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice. “Crime really isn’t going up and it isn’t going down.”

However, the U.S. violent crime rate increased 3 percent from 2015 to 2016, and homicides increased 8 percent in that time period, according to the FBI data. Violent crimes include murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

“An increase in violent crime is troubling and tragic and needs to be addressed with research-based strategies,” said Adam Gelb, who studies crime data as director of the public safety project for the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Cities such as Chicago and Baltimore are seeing localized spikes in crime which is driving up the national crime rate, Gelb said.

“It’s clear that we are not in the midst of a new national crime wave,” Gelb said. “Violent crime is dropping in Minnesota and a lot of other places around the country.”

Despite the increase, the national crime rate is about 20 percent lower than the rate a decade ago, according to the FBI data.