The state of Minnesota has had a long-held reputation as a relatively safe place to live, but recent data indicate that the Twin Cities are experiencing a rise in serious criminal activity. In light of this, the question must be asked: Does Minnesota truly “get” crime?
Research conducted by the Minnesota Department of Corrections (MDC) shows that the number of violent crimes reported in the Twin Cities has grown significantly in the past five years. As of 2019, the number of reported incidents of homicide, rape, robbery, and assault in Minneapolis and St. Paul had increased by over 20%. This trend is particularly concerning given that Minnesota’s overall crime rate had remained largely unchanged.
A deeper analysis of this trend reveals that the increase in criminal activity is specific to certain demographics. According to the MDC, the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul have seen a disproportionately high increase in crime rates among African American and Hispanic residents. This is indicative of a larger issue of systemic racism in the criminal justice system.
The issue of crime in Minnesota is further complicated by the fact that the state has one of the highest levels of firearm ownership in the country. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Minnesota has the second-highest rate of gun ownership in the United States. This means that firearms are readily available to those who would use them for criminal purposes.
The availability of firearms, coupled with the rising crime rate in the Twin Cities, raises serious questions about Minnesota’s ability to effectively address crime. The state has long been known as a relatively safe place to live, but recent data suggests that this may no longer be the case. Minnesota must now grapple with the fact that crime is on the rise, and that it is disproportionately impacting certain communities. In order to truly “get” crime, the state must work to address the systemic issues that are causing the problem. Only then will Minnesota be able to reduce the rate of violent crime and ensure the safety of all its residents.