The Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper reported in a February 12, 2020, article that the city’s crime rate had spiked 70 percent in 2019. The reporters used official Police Department data to support their findings.
Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said at a public hearing, “As we start into 2020, we’re still seeing issues involving gun violence.” This was stated amid calls for more police staffing to meet the increase in calls to police and to address citizen complaints about slow response times.
The Tribune reporter’s analysis of five years’ worth of crime data showed that most neighborhoods in Minneapolis “have gotten more dangerous.”
Pam McCrea, the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association chairwoman, cited homelessness, substance abuse, and mental health issues as causes for the increase in crime. She said many of the crimes could be prevented “with common sense.” She mentioned a recent survey of downtown residents that indicated “a large majority say they feel safe in their neighborhoods.”
The Neighborhood Association maintains figures that showed a population increase of 56 percent since 2006, with an additional 205,000 people coming into downtown Minneapolis daily for work or business.
CBS News ranked Minneapolis the 19th most dangerous city in the U.S., right behind Chicago. In 2017, the city had four times more rapes and robberies than the national average. And that doesn’t even count the murders.
George Floyd died in the Powderhorn neighborhood of Minneapolis. It has a combined crime rate that is 18 percent higher than the rest of the city. In addition, its crime rate is 756 percent higher than the state’s overall crime rate.
As far back as 2014, the same reporter for the Star Tribune newspaper, Libor Jany, detailed a 19 percent jump in the violent crime rate in the Powderhorn community from the previous year. Minneapolis Police Spokesman John Elder said back then, “Every week we reassess where our criminal hot zones are and we continue to increase patrols and adjust shifts to combat these crimes.”
Obviously the problems in Minneapolis neighborhoods are not new. The issues between the police and the community are long-standing. And the violent crime rate has been steadily increasing.
Did the police know about Floyd’s violent criminal past? I don’t know. George Floyd spent five years in a Texas prison for armed robbery. But the police surely knew the neighborhood’s crime rate was 18 percent higher than the rest of the city.
George moved from Houston to Minneapolis to start over. Then he lost his job as a bouncer at a restaurant when the Minnesota governor issued the COVID-19 stay-at-home order, according to The Guardian. A lot of people in Minneapolis lost their jobs.
Minneapolis was a powder keg waiting to explode, and George Floyd was the fuse.
Floyd’s death at the hands (or knee) of a police officer is egregious. It is every police department’s worst nightmare and every citizen’s greatest fear. But the violence that followed had little to do with Mr. Floyd’s tragic death. Even George’s brother begged for the violence to stop because he knew his older brother would not want it. But to no avail.
More than a week after George’s death, the indiscriminate rioting, looting, fires, beatings, and violence show no signs of letting up. If this was meant to avenge his death, what message does it send? Or maybe that isn’t what this is really all about.
So who are these criminals and vile opportunists really hurting? Only themselves and the destroyed businesses and ruined neighborhoods they will leave behind when they all go home.
Think of all the black-owned businesses that are gone. Think about all the minority-held jobs that have been lost. Think of all the innocent people who were beaten or killed.
If the Minneapolis crime rate went up 70 percent before George Floyd’s death, imagine what it is now!
Image from: metro.co.uk