One year after riots, Twin Cities wracked by lawlessness, division

Then there is crime, which has skyrocketed in Minneapolis and St. Paul, as it has in many big cities across the country. Crime already was a growing problem in the years before the riots. It got bad enough in 2019 that representatives of the Minnesota Vikings, Twins, and Timberwolves wrote a joint op-ed in the Star Tribune urging city leaders to increase policing levels and to do more to make downtown safe. Over the past year, things have gotten increasingly worse as police officers left Minneapolis in droves amid threats by progressive city leaders to defund their department. Streets in the Uptown neighborhood, a prime entertainment district, often are taken over by drag racers and protesters who set dumpsters on fire. Some frustrated business owners are locking their stores during business hours.

There were more than 5,400 violent crimes reported in Minneapolis last year, including 553 shootings and 84 homicides, the largest numbers in decades. Things are actually looking worse so far in 2021. According to city data, there were 41 homicides in Minneapolis through June 28, a 46 percent increase from the same period in 2020, when there were 28 homicides.

In May, a college student was killed when he got caught in downtown crossfire, just hours before his graduation. In April and May, three young children were shot in Minneapolis, two of whom died, including a 9-year-old girl shot in the head while jumping on a trampoline.

Recent polling by the Center of the American Experiment found that 81 percent of Minnesotans are concerned about crime in the state, including 85 percent of suburban residents.