Minnesota is in the middle of a crime pandemic. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension just reported that violent crime rose 21.6% in 2021, on top of a 19% increase for 2020. Violent crimes increased from 12,509 in 2019 to 17,631 in 2021, an increase of over 5,000, or 41%.
Democrats and the BLM movement are to blame for this firestorm. The primary cause of this dramatic increase in violent crime is the de-policing of our central cities after the deaths of George Floyd and Daunte Wright. BLM and Democrats have insisted that both of these deaths happened because white officers were targeting unarmed black victims. Every Democratic politician I know still insists that our police forces are systemically racist.
Our governor, Tim Walz, said after the death of Daunte Wright: “Another black man dies at the hands of law enforcement.” Not a single Democrat defended our police, not Sens. Amy Klobuchar or Tina Smith, or Reps. Dean Phillips and Angie Craig, and certainly not Rep. Ilhan Omar. The consequence of that police bashing? Fewer police and less policing. Minneapolis has lost almost 300 officers since 2019, and is 150 short of the charter requirement of 731, all due to early retirement, disability, and just plain quitting. Would you want to be a police officer knowing that no city official has your back, and that every city politician will accuse you of racism at every possible opportunity? Would you aggressively pursue African-American suspects?
Arrests are down. While violent crime increased by over 40% in the two-year period of 2020-2021, arrests declined 10%, from 5,732 to 5,149.
Police stops are down dramatically. In the 12 months after Floyd’s death, police stops dropped by 19,000, from 36,190 to 17,030. In the 12 months after that, they dropped another 5,000, down to a total of 12,651. That’s a whopping 70% drop in policing.
What’s the truth? Are police targeting blacks? Josh Correll from the University of Colorado administered computer screen tests to officers and found that “officers are no more likely to shoot an unarmed black target than an unarmed white one.” Lois James from Washington State University found that officers waited significantly longer before shooting an armed black target than an armed white target, and that officers were three times less likely to shoot an unarmed black target than an unarmed white target. And we know from FBI victim report data that African Americans are arrested in the same proportions as they offend.
On top of the war on police, Democrats and BLM have waged a war on incarceration. Since Democrat Wendell Anderson inaugurated “Community Corrections” in 1973, Minnesota has championed the notion that criminals are best “corrected” by leaving them in their communities, under probation. For 50 years residents of Minneapolis and St. Paul have suffered as career criminals have been returned to their local community to offend yet again.
Democrats own every aspect of the “Community Corrections” criminal justice system that has produced the current crime wave, from the governor to the head of the Department of Corrections, to the Sentencing Guidelines Commission, to the Supreme Court and the district court benches, and the Hennepin and Ramsey County attorneys. Consider just one indicia of the revolving-door mentality that Democrats have imbedded in our criminal justice system: in 2020 (last reported year), Minnesota judges departed from the prison recommendation called for by the sentencing guidelines 43.2% of the time. This departure rate (which puts thousands more criminals back on the streets) was 19.1% in 1982, and has been rising ever since.
The push to end incarceration is based on the false premise that our prisons are full of one-time drug offenders. The truth? Eighty percent of Minnesota state prisoners are either current or past violent offenders. Sixty percent have two or more convictions.
And Democrats have added to the incarceration debacle with the juvenile justice system they have “reformed.” There are now effectively no consequences for offending juveniles, who are almost always returned to their parents. There are currently only 50 juveniles in detention, versus 820 in 1970.
And yet the Democrat and BLM war on cops goes on. Kim Potter sits at the Shakopee women’s prison. Her record shows that she doesn’t have a racist bone in her body, and there isn’t a scintilla of evidence that she killed Daunte Wright because he was black. In the face of her treatment, what would you do if you were a police officer? Assuming you didn’t quit, you would back off active policing, especially in dealing with any suspicious situation that involves African Americans.
Democrats are reaping what they have sown. Unfortunately, all of us, especially those who cannot escape the city, are caught up in their harvest.