Homicides in Minneapolis dipped last month, first decline this year
A Minneapolis Police Department squad car at the scene of a fatal car crash at the intersection of 36th Avenue North and Aldrich Avenue North in Minneapolis on May 1, 2019. Photo by Tony Webster.
The number of homicides in Minneapolis last month dipped slightly below last June, marking the first time homicides have declined below last year’s monthly numbers.
In June 2020 the city recorded 11 homicides. Last month, there were eight, according to the Minneapolis Police Department crime statistics dashboard.
Homicides are still up overall this year from last with a surge in violent crime continuing to beset Minneapolis as city leaders and residents debate the future of policing. So far this year, 45 people have been killed in Minneapolis compared with 33 people by this time in 2020.
The dip in killings could signal waning violence as the state returns to normalcy following the COVID-19 pandemic. However, if June is just a blip, the city would be on track for a record-setting year for homicides, on par with the mid-1990s.
There have been three homicides so far in July; if that pace continues the numbers will be comparable to last July, when there were 14 homicides.
Last year, there were 84 homicides in Minneapolis, behind only 1995, as violent crime spiraled in Minneapolis and many other cities as the pandemic took hold, putting people out of work, closing schools and leaving young people with few options to stay out of trouble.
The murder of George Floyd by a former police officer also sparked unrest in Minneapolis and was followed by a wave of officers leaving the department or going on extended medical leave.
University of Minnesota sociologist Michelle Phelps said month-to-month comparisons are difficult to parse because the time frame is so small, but if these trends continue and if homicides go down this year, she suspects the explanation will have a lot to do with the gradual re-opening of all of the “connective tissue” in communities that helps prevent violence — such as schools, community centers, businesses, churches and family gatherings.
The number of rapes also declined from 49 in 2020 to 29 last month — the first drop since February and March.
Aggravated assaults were also down last month, at 334 compared to 354 last June, the first drop since March. Robberies, however, were up in April, May and June after dropping in March. Same goes for car thefts, which were up from April to June after dropping below 2020 numbers in March and April.
Asked to comment on the dip in violent crimes last month, MPD spokesman John Elder said “We are unable to break anyone from homicide free for an interview due to workload.”
Chicago also recorded a drop in homicides last month, for the third month in a row, although they’re still up overall compared to last year.
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