Minneapolis, like other major cities, sees dip in violent crime

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In the first half of this year, murder rates were down in Minneapolis — a fact that’s being noticed nationwide. This morning, the Washington Post notes that Minnesota’s biggest city — which had six homicides in the first half of 2009, well short of the 18 recorded for all of 2008 — is joined by other major cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C., in seeing drops in violent crime. But experts are “mystified” by it: Doesn’t violent crime usually go up during tough economic times?

Summarizing criminologists’ findings, the Post says experts call the decline “baffling and unexpected,” adding that “many agree that the common belief that crime is connected to the economy is false.”

One city defying the trend: Detroit, according to our sister site, the Michigan Messenger, is seeing a dramatic uptick in homicides: “The growing homicide rate — already nearly 20 percent higher in 2009 than even revised totals from last year — and the disturbing revelation that perhaps as many as 20 percent of violent crimes are not logged by the Detroit Police Department are his top priorities.”

Locally, St. Paul can also cite lower murder rates, reporting seven homicides so far. While that’s well below last year’s 20 murders, police are alarmed that nearly half of this year’s homicide victims are Hmong.

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