Homicide doubled in Saint Paul last year – but violent crime in general was down.
A Star Tribune analysis of newly released police data shows that while homicides soared in 2019, reports of aggravated assaults, rapes and robberies decreased, contributing to a reduction in overall violent crime. However, property crime reports grew by nearly 12% during the same period.
And the hike in property crime may have been a result of the city’s response to the homicides.
To keep pace with the bloodshed, Police Chief Todd Axtell tapped federal agents to assist with criminal investigations and shifted staff within the department to better manage the growing caseload.
The strategy meant fewer proactive policing visits and an increase in property crimes, characterized as burglary, theft and arson. Auto theft and larceny, in particular, saw double-digit growth.
So if homicide is spiking, but violent crime in general is down – which comports with data around the rest of the country – then I’m inclined to think that Sheriff Fletcher is right – the murder spree is the result of inter-gang beeves going back over a decade, being settled on the streets today.
And that the metro’s DFL legislative contingent’s maniacal, cancerous support for stricter gun control is geometricaly off-point. If you leave out gang-related shootings – which are hard to identify, but certainly a huge part of the death tool this year – the conclusion is inescapable; it’s not the law-abiding citizen doing the killing.
And gang members don’t take background checks, and they don’t file red flag complaints on each other.