Violent crime rates in Mpls. down dramatically since 2007

Reports of rape, robbery, burglary and auto thefts are down as well.

As of Monday, Minneapolis had seen only one homicide since Jan. 1 âÄì far less than the 11 incidents reported at this time last year and the 18 in 2007. This is a continued a trend of falling violent crime rates, which have decreased 25 percent over a two-year period, according to Minneapolis police department statistics. Incidents of rape, robbery, auto theft and burglary are all down at least 20 percent over the last two years as well. The largest crime rate drop came from auto thefts, which are down almost 40 percent. The addition of a juvenile police unit is among the several reasons crime has been on the decline, Minneapolis police Sgt. Jesse Garcia said. âÄúIn the past, for a couple years, we didnâÄôt have a juvenile unit,âÄù Garcia said. âÄúSo there was nobody specifically directed to work with those crimes.âÄù Now, there are investigators who are just appointed to work on cases strictly involving juveniles, Garcia said. He also pointed to investigators and patrolmen for a large portion of the forceâÄôs success. âÄúInvestigators are putting together good investigations and getting people prosecuted,âÄù Garcia said. âÄúAnd our street cops are just doing an unbelievable job out there.âÄù

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Another positive statistic from 2008 was that 10 arrests were made from the 14 homicides reported, which Garcia said he considered a success. Police officers are not working harder, Garcia said. Instead, they are working âÄúsmarter.âÄù âÄúWeâÄôre getting out there in front of the crimes and using some good tools to identify problem areas,âÄù he said, âÄúand directing our patrols there.âÄù The number of violent crimes at the University of Minnesota has remained consistently low over the past few years. So far this year, there have not been any reports of assaults or murders on campus. There was one rape reported. In Minneapolis, there have been 96 rapes reported so far this year, down from 121 last year.