By David Schuman

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — This summer’s crime rate in downtown St. Paul was the lowest in at least five years.

“We were 23% below last year’s crime rates and we’re 10% below the five-year average,” said Joe Spencer, the president of the St. Paul Downtown Alliance.

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The alliance looked at overall crime statistics during the months of June, July and August dating back to 2017.

The drop in crime aligns with Sisco Sisco’s observations working as the manager of Afro Deli in downtown St. Paul.

“There’s not so much as a cop having to be called [now],” she said. “Beforehand, when we first started here, we’d actually have to call the police pretty often.”

Sisco’s more comfortable walking home when she closes. She says there are more customers later at night.

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Spencer credits a few factors for the improvement, including a $1 million investment into police overtime for downtown patrols.

The alliance is also working with social service providers and outreach groups to help people experiencing homelessness.

They’ve piloted a program of Street Team ambassadors for the last few years too. Team members clean up litter and graffiti, as well as provide a presence.

“They’re additional eyes and ears,” Spencer said. “They’ve all got a radio in their ear. They’re connected to our Safety Communications Center.”

The Safety Communications Center can dispatch social workers, other community response workers and request police support.

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In comparison, overall crime in downtown Minneapolis this summer increased by 4% from last summer.

David Schuman