I get a lot of crime notifications on my phone (2020 was the wrong year to install the Citizen app). I think it’s warping my perception of crime in my neighborhood. I’m very good at ignoring everything my phone sends at me. Don’t expect me to answer your emails or text messages. But I will read all the crime notifications. If a man is stabbing the McDonald’s drive thru window with a knife, or a car is overturned on Lyndale Avenue, I’m very interested to know.
But this is not always reliable information. And the experience of constant crime notifications just isn’t something I’ve subjected myself to in previous years. So I set out to answer the question: where is violent crime happening in 2020?
While I get the feeling my part of town isn’t quite the chaotic place portrayed in alerts on my phone, violent crime is unquestionably on the rise in Minneapolis as a whole. Citywide there have been 55 murders in 2020, double the pace of 2019. The city’s Black, Indigenous, and immigrant communities are experiencing the worst of the violence.
Ward 9 — the place where George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police and where many businesses were destroyed in the unrest that followed — has seen the sharpest increase. Ward 9 has had 12 murders so far in 2020, a total equal to the previous three years combined. Ward 5 in North Minneapolis has had 16, double the pace of 2019.
But in most parts of the city, violent crime numbers look like a typical summer. In some places the numbers are actually down. If you had told me violent incidents in my general area — the Lowry Hill East and Whittier neighborhoods — had doubled, I might have believed it. It hasn’t. While these two neighborhoods (population: 21,000) have had a concerning increase, it’s not apocalyptic: 100 violent crimes in the summer of 2019 have become 120 this summer.
Note: Violent crime is defined as murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, or domestic aggravated assault. Data comes from the city’s crime dashboard and are limited to the period from May 26 to September 1 in each of the years listed.
The charts are interactive. You can click on ward labels to deactivate/reactivate the corresponding lines.