Minneapolis crime at historic lows

Minneapolis’ reinvestment three years ago in a police unit focused on juvenile offenders has paid off big, city leaders said July 23 at a press conference about a citywide record drop in violent crime.

Mayor R.T. Rybak, Police Chief Tim Dolan and a nearly complete City Council gathered at the 2nd Precinct in Northeast Minneapolis to discuss the crime drop, which they said is largely because of the juvenile focus.

Homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault are all down for the third year in a row throughout the city and during the past six months, not a single juvenile-involved homicide was reported.

Chief Dolan called the accomplishment “huge” and credited increased production from officers and improved community outreach.

“Nothing works if they don’t work,” he said.

Violent crime citywide is down 17 percent from last year, 28 percent from 2007 and 39 percent from 2006.

Southwest’s violent crime is the lowest it’s been in a decade. It’s down 15 percent from 1999, which was also the last year the area had zero homicides at this time — a statistic matched this year.

Violent crime in Southwest is down 26 percent from last year, 32 percent from 2007 and almost 43 percent from 2006.

Insp. Kristine Arneson, who oversees the 5th Precinct, said constantly shifting focus zones and community cooperation are largely to thank.

"I don’t think you can have crime reduction without community help and support," she said.

Rybak lauded the city’s success, but encouraged city leaders, law enforcement and citizens to continue to work toward a safer city.

“We still have a long way to go,” he said.