New Report Says Crime Greatly Underreported in Minnesota

Only about a third of crimes are reported

Crime Scene Tape
Crime Scene Tape

ST. PAUL, Minn.-A recent report done by the Department of Public Safety Office of Justice Programs indicates that crime in Minnesota is greatly underreported.

The 2016 Minnesota Crime Victimization Survey showed that many people who have been victims of crimes will not report the crime to the police. The highest categories for underreporting were bank fraud and credit fraud. Often times, people would simply submit complaints only to the card provider rather than the police. The survey indicated that only 12.5 percent of people who had been victims of some form of identity theft reported it to the police. However, it should be noted that in at least 74 percent of these incidents ended in no monetary loss to the victims. Underreporting of financial scams was also indicated in the report, with only 7 percent of respondents who were victims of these sorts of crimes indicating that they called the police.

Stalking was also a widely underreported crime to the police. While 15 and 17 percent, respectively, of people reported unwanted phone calls and unsolicited texting or social media messages, this number dipped into the single digits with more aggressive kinds of stalking such as being approached at work or home by an unwanted person.

Interestingly, spousal domestic abuse was fairly widely reported, with at least 80 percent reporting domestic abuse to the police. That being said, domestic abuse outside of a spousal relationship was fairly underreported, with only 21 percent asking for police services following an assault by a family member and only 11 percent reporting when this abuse came from a friend or neighbor.  For the most part, people called the police much more frequently when they felt their person’s was being threatened, 67 percent of the time, then when they thought their property was being threatened, only 28 percent of the time calling the police.

A statistic that may help explain a great deal of the underreporting is that 78 percent of respondents who didn’t call the police stated that they did not believe police assistance was needed.

Henry Carras