Violent crime in Minneapolis nudged up slightly last year, driven in large part by a wave of gang-on-gang bloodshed sweeping parts of the city, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. An official tally showed 4,605 violent crime incidents, a 4.3 percent increase over 2015. The city recorded 2,274 aggravated assaults, a crime category that includes shootings and is considered a key measure of how safe a city is, up from 2,051 the previous year. The number of homicides fell from 50 to 37 during the same period. Robberies also declined, but rapes and sexual assaults jumped more than 6 percent.
Meanwhile, arrests are down for every crime category except automobile thefts. Police made 8,963 fewer arrests in 2016 for crimes from homicide to arson, despite the rise in overall crime. Observers speculate that the decline was caused by everything from the department’s embrace of a community policing model that emphasized public relations over cracking down to an apparent work slowdown in response to intense public criticism after the 2015 shooting death of Jamar Clark during a struggle with two officers. Despite the rise in shootings, Police Chief Janeé Harteau said serious assaults had waned in recent months. “Crime prevention initiatives and the efforts of our officers helped dramatically reduce the number of homicide, robbery and burglary victims in the city,” Harteau said.