Bucking the trend of many large cities, violent crime in Minneapolis dropped significantly in 2007, says the Minneapolis Star Tribune. A focus on reducing crime by juveniles and arresting the city’s most dangerous and chronic offenders, bolstered by more than 50 new officers hitting the streets, helped reduce the total number of violent crimes by 13 percent.
The I-35W bridge collapse took hundreds of officers away from their regular duties in August, but the department still arrested 2,000 more people than in 2006. That year, a rash of homicides and robberies drove violent crimes to their highest level since 1997. In Minneapolis, burglaries became the most troublesome trend in 2007. The 5,990 burglaries in the city were the highest number since 1998. Officers spent more time making sure the rising number of vacant houses created by foreclosure didn’t attract criminal activity. Council Member Don Samuels said residents in his North Side ward were feeling quite a bit safer, but “you have to be really cautious when you celebrate these crime stats.” If the pattern continues, Chief Tim Dolan wants officers to concentrate on livability crimes and specific neighborhood policing plans. “We don’t want it to stop here,” Samuels said. “We are still losing kids to the streets.”