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Violent crime rose in Minnesota in 2021, according to new state data

BCA: Violent crime up 22% in Minnesota in 2022
BCA: Violent crime up 22% in Minnesota in 2022 02:04

MINNEAPOLIS -- Violent crime in Minnesota increased by nearly 22 percent in 2021, according to new report published by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

The 2021 Uniform Crime report published Friday shows violent crime rose by 16 percent in Greater Minnesota and by nearly 24 percent in the seven-county Twin Cities metro.

"The Department of Public Safety has stepped up investigations and proactive patrols in partnership with our federal, state and local officers," said John Harrington, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said in a statement about the report. "By following the data, we hope these efforts will reduce victimization, improve focused and effective rapid responses, and hold offenders accountable."

Year-over-year from 2020 to 2021, murders and rapes increased, the report said. Auto thefts reached a two-decade high. The agency also reported 779 carjackings last year, the first time the data was collected. (Carjackings are not included in auto theft numbers.)

recent law requires data tracking police use-of-force incidents

 that include a firearm that was discharged toward a person or any incident that results in serious bodily injury or death. There were 31 use-of-force reports in 2021, down from 45 in 2020, according to the report. Assaults on peace officers increased by 35 percent, the report said.

Gov. Tim Walz late last week said state troopers and BCA agents will remain in the Twin Cities to help curb crime. This comes as Minneapolis is grappling with a depleted police force.


"Never before has this many state resources been invested into a specific public safety issue and rise which we're seeing, which is appropriate," Walz said during a Thursday news conference. "As crimes rise nationally, that's what we have to do."

Public safety emerging as a political lightening rod this election cycle. It's already a focus of the governor's race between incumbent Walz and his Republican challenger Dr. Scott Jensen. And in response to the crime report, Republicans and Democrats at the legislature were quick to blame each other for not doing enough to make communities safer. This most recent session ended without a public safety funding package

"Today's report makes it clear: Under the Governor's watch, crime is uncontrolled," Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, chair of judiciary committee, said in a statement Friday. "Senate Republicans stopped all efforts to 'Defund the Police' and prioritized more resources for law enforcement, increased sentences for repeat violent offenders, and access to a new data base to follow the increasing 'soft on crime' decisions of judges and prosecutors."

Elected officials at the Capitol diverged in their approaches to public safety and they ultimately couldn't bridge the divisions and find compromise. Senate Republicans, for example, sought recruitment bonuses for police and stiffer penalties for some crimes, while House Democrats wanted "innovative" public safety solutions that included funding programs beyond just law enforcement, like juvenile diversion, community violence interruption and mental health services.

Rep. Cedrick Frazier, a key lawmaker on the House Public Safety Committee, called out his GOP colleagues following the release of the crime data.

"Guess which party walked away from legislation that would have invested in public safety tools to make our communities safer. Hint -- it starts with an 'R,'" Frazier wrote in a tweet.

Deanna Williams, who lives near Fergus Falls and came to Minneapolis for a concert Sunday, said she had seen news reports about an increase in crime, so she researched statistics in the Twin Cities before her visit.

"I asked people in the area and they said, 'Don't go here after dark, don't walk alone,'" she said. "It's very concerning."

Steve Patnode, who lives in Minneapolis, said he is cautious, but he feels safe in his neighborhood. He thinks more police officers in the city would help, but he would like law enforcement to approach "the cause not just the effect" of the uptick in crime. 

"It's still a safe place, you just have to be careful," Patnode said. "And I would argue no different than most other communities."

An analysis of major cities in the U.S. by the Council on Criminal Justice found homicides rose in the two years since the pandemic began.

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