MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Violent crime ticked up slightly in Minnesota last year, but in a new report the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension says the state’s overall crime rate actually hit its lowest level in 50 years. The most serious crimes dropped more than 3 percent.
“First off, it’s a good thing,” said Bill Hutton.
Hutton is a former sheriff who now works for the Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association. A decline in crimes committed is something he’s been noticing for years.
“Training, experience, all those things play a role,” he said. “But it’s also the relationships we have within law enforcement and outside of law enforcement.”
Since 2009, the number of violent crimes has dropped by about 17 percent in Hennepin County, and by nearly 30 percent in Ramsey County. Hutton believes technology has played a role in all of this. There are more security cameras in public than ever before.
“You have to do more with less, so we incorporate those types of things that help us become more efficient, better at what we do,” Hutton said. “It all plays a role.”
Dr. Jillian Peterson, a criminal justice professor at Hamline, says the numbers for some crimes may not add up.
“For crimes like rape and assault, we know those are traditionally under-reported,” said Peterson.
Still, Peterson says there has been an overall downward trend in crime since the early 1990s. She says there’s a theory that millennials commit less crime. And things like education, employment opportunities, and mental health treatment have helped.
“You have more exposure and access to social media so it feels like crime is on the rise. I think it’s important to know it really isn’t and it continues to fall,” said Peterson.
The BCA numbers show that theft and sex trafficking are crimes that continue to trend downward.
Hutton says that may be due to more funding and undercover work by law enforcement.
You can read the full report on the BCA’s website.