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Homicides Up In Minneapolis For First Time In 3 Years

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The number of murders is on the rise in Minneapolis for the first time in three years, and overall violent crime is seeing an increase, too.

The latest statistics for the first half of the year has the murder rate up nearly 50 percent over this time last year. Police say there's no obvious reason for the spike in crime and the motives in these homicides range from drug violence to disputes.

But officers said there is a common denominator in this year's homicides and it's that guns are usually involved in the violence.

Delray Meanweather is one person who understands the impact of gun violence. He's spent the last two months learning to live without his brother, Odell Frazier, and uncle, Eddie Pelmore.

"My brother, he'd want me to keep doing what I'm doing and keep my head up," Delray Meanweather said.

Frazier and Pelmore were shot and killed while sitting in an SUV outside Frazier's north Minneapolis home on April 8. In an instant, the city's homicide numbers grew by two.

"The crime rate is going up, it should be going down," Meanweather said.

Since the start of the year, there have been 21 murders in Minneapolis. That's compared to 13 this time last year.

"Of course it's frustrating, any homicide is one too many.  It's something we take very seriously and we don't ever like increases," Commander Catherine Johnson of the Minneapolis Police Department said.

Aggravated assault is also on the rise, helping to bring the overall violent crime rate to an increase of five percent. And Commander Johnson said summer often brings more crime than the winter since people are outside more often.

"The biggest issue is making sure we take the actions we know have worked in the past," Commander Johnson said.

Those actions include community policing, working cases to find any connections and relying on the public's for help for information.

But even victim's loved ones admit that doesn't always come easily.

"I know the officers, the police they're doing their job and sometimes they take abuse from us," Meanweather said.

Delray's first-hand experience with crime brings a new perspective that violence isn't just an officer's responsibility.

"This starts in the home, so most of this stuff is going on because the young cats, young guys, aren't being raised. They being half raised, it starts in the home," Meanweather said.

According to the crime stats, the Fourth Precinct, or north Minneapolis, has the most violent crime. But the Second precinct, or northeast Minneapolis, has the greatest increase of 18 percent so far this year.

Overall, robberies are down as well as some of the smaller crimes, like burglary.

Police say the arrest rate is on par with previous years and ahead of the national average.

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