Shootings up, homicides down in Minneapolis in 2016

A review of Minneapolis 2016’s crime statistics finds successes and challenges, Minneapolis city leaders announced Monday. The numbers showed there were fewer homicides in 2016, but the numbers of shootings were up.

“These shootings are unacceptable. They have no place in any part of our city,” Mayor Betsy Hodges said. “Not downtown, not on the north side, not in Loring Park, not in Phillips.”

Overall, violent crime increased by five percent in 2016, paced by a 12.3 percent jump in aggravated assaults, which includes shootings.

Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau said the department took steps to address the rise in violence, including deploying more resources after a gang-related shooting killed one man and injured seven others in May.

“We immediately focused our investigative teams to look at all shootings, regardless of the outcome, regardless of whether anyone was shot, we went to all shootings and shots fired,” Harteau said.

Harteau said the effort stemmed from the increase in shootings in the Fourth Precinct. Harteau blamed repeat offenders for most of the violence on both sides. Numbers showed 56 percent of shooting victims had some sort of gang association.

“One of the common themes we have is very uncooperative shooting victims,” Harteau said. “They do prefer street justice, they have criminal histories, and so do our shooters.”

Hodges, who is running for re-election, said the city will continue to use community-based solutions to combat crime. She cited partnerships with organizations like YouthLink, which works with homeless youth downtown as an example as of one of those solutions. 

“This kind of relationship starts small, it starts with small steps and we know we're going to build into something better,” said Dr. Heather Huseby, executive director of YouthLink.

The mayor also announced plans to work with business groups and other stakeholders downtown to combat not only crime, but other behaviors that can make people feel unsafe.

“A rise in behaviors in the daytime, particularly along Hennepin Avenue, things like catcalling and drunkenness that, while often not illegal, undermine the shared goal of keeping downtown a neighborhood where everyone feels welcome and everyone feels safe,” Hodges said.

City leaders also touted successes in other areas, such as a continued decline in burglaries over the past two years.