Urban Dynamics Blog

In 2016, crime was ‘Up’ overall in Minneapolis but…

By Matt Johnson

After a first pass through the Minneapolis crime data, it appears reported crimes in Minneapolis increased in 2016. However, they didn’t increase by much. In total numbers, reported crimes increased from 21,341 in 2015 to 21,485 in 2016. That’s 144 reported crimes.

As a percent, that’s less than 1 percent. But of course, this crime data only tells us about the total number of crimes for the city of Minneapolis. It doesn’t tell us anything about where the majority of these crimes happened nor does it tell us anything about the types of crimes that are most prominent in these locations. And of course, it really does depend on location.


For example, North Minneapolis has some of the highest crime rates per square mile in the city. But not all neighborhoods and zip codes are created equal when it comes to crime. There are certain neighborhoods that experience much higher crime rates than others.

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The Jordan neighborhood, which resides in the central part of North Minneapolis in the 5th Ward, experienced the highest number of crimes and the highest number of crimes per square mile on the north side in 2015 and 2016. But the number of crimes and the crimes per square mile in the Jordan neighborhood decreased in 2016. In other words, they were higher in 2015.

The Jordan neighborhood is the only neighborhood in Minneapolis that is predominantly black.

In contrast, the crimes per square mile on average are much lower in the Harrison and Sumner Glenwood neighborhoods in the 5th Ward on the north side. And of course, the 4th Ward, which also resides on the north side, has its neighborhoods that are relatively quiet when it comes to crime and others that are active with higher numbers of crimes.

Harrison and Sumner Glenwood are predominantly white.

As my regular readers know, crime is usually associated with other adverse socio-economic factors such as higher rates of unemployment, lower rates of education, and housing issues. Sometimes this is referred to as urban decay or urban blight. But in the case of my research, I am using mathematical methods to lead me to this knowledge of urban environments and their respective discrepancies. But there are instances where I have found crime does exist on its own.

For Minneapolis, this happens in downtown Minneapolis, specifically in the Downtown West neighborhood, which experiences the highest number of crimes in the city month after month.

Why is this so? Well this is a question I will leave for you to ponder. Other questions you might think about as well are, why do these adverse socio-economic factors exist together with very few exceptions? Are policy makers aware of these facts? And if they are, why haven’t they done anything about it?

Matt Johnson is a writer for The Systems Scientist and the Urban Dynamics blog; and is a mathematical scientist. He has also contributed to the Iowa State Daily and Our Black News.

You can connect with him directly in the comments section, and follow him on Twitter or on Facebook

You can also follow The Systems Scientist on Twitter or Facebook.

Photo credit: Tony Webster




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