Minnesota residents and police had a rough weekend in St. Paul. Nine people were shot – two of them fatally – in just 96 hours. That would be bad enough by itself if it were some sort of statistical blip on the radar, but it seems to be part of a larger pattern. In Minneapolis, officials report that shootings so far this year aren’t just ticking upward… they’re nearly double what was seen during the same period last year. (Star Tribune)

As of April 11, 74 people had been shot in the city, an 85 percent increase over the 40 shot during the same period last year. Eleven neighborhoods spanning the city saw violent crimes such as rape, robbery or arson showing increases in 2015 compared to a five-year average…

Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, blames the crime surge on a shrinking police force and greater scrutiny of police that has left some officers disengaged. The slowdown in policing has been noticeable.

Through April 11, police in north Minneapolis’ Fourth Precinct made 3,706 proactive stops, compared with 7,732 in the same period last year. Citywide, there has also been a dramatic decline in traffic stops and arrests for serious crimes.

As we’ve discussed here previously, crime rates including gun violence are actually trending downward nationwide, but there are noticeable pockets where the reverse is taking place. In Chicago, gun murders are up 48% and non-fatal shootings rose 73% over early 2015 numbers. In Baltimore, gun homicides are up 11% with non-fatal shooting spiking 43% despite a massive increase in the confiscation of illegal weapons. What explains the difference in these urban areas compared to the rest of the nation?

At least when it comes to Minneapolis, Powerline offers one possible reason and it has everything to do with a change in the culture and climate that police are dealing with.

What could account for an 85% increase in shootings? Liberals predictably will blame guns, but there has been no change in the gun laws. The only plausible explanation is a combination of the Ferguson Effect and the racial hostility promoted by the Obama administration and the Black Lives Matter organization…

Barack Obama and his minions have promoted racial division and a relentless attack on police forces as a means to political power. The inevitable result is now being seen all around the country: the Obama crime wave.

I’m not sure about signing on for a label of “The Obama crime wave” at this point because the President is reacting to circumstances rather than trying to proactively tackle them. But that response has been anything from woefully unproductive to actually counterproductive, depending how you view it. Still, if you wish to continue arguing that The Ferguson Effect isn’t real, I don’t know what to say to you anymore beyond hoping that the sky is a beautiful color in the world where you live. When the police draw back on responses for fear of being made out to be the bad guys, criminals sense an opportunity. How that isn’t obvious remains a mystery to me, but cable news spokesmodels continue to assure me that I must be wrong.

In the meantime, there are dozens more funerals taking place this week in several cities due to criminals who almost exclusively use illegal guns and never go through any sort of background check process when obtaining them. Clamping down on the police and restricting the Second Amendment rights of the people who actually follow the law doesn’t seem to be working. Isn’t that just the strangest thing you’ve ever heard?

Police Line