Violent crime down in St. Paul, despite homicides doubling

Property crimes were up though.
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While 2019 was the deadliest year in a decade in St. Paul as far as homicides go, the city otherwise saw an overall drop in violent crime during the year.

St. Paul PD has released its preliminary end-of-year crime stats for 2019, which showed that all "Part 1" crime – comprising the most serious of violent and property crimes – rose by 8.4 percent.

But most of that was driven by large increases in property crimes, with double-digit increases in theft and vehicle thefts, and a 6.3 percent increase in burglaries.

The city saw 30 criminal homicides in 2019, its highest number of the decade and double the 15 it saw in 2018, but other violent crimes went down.

There was a drop of just over 19 percent in reported rapes, a slight dip in robberies, and a 13.4 percent decrease in aggravated assaults.

This, according to St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell, came after the department focused its "limited resources" on addressing crime against the person, which in turn might have led to a spike in property crime.

"Last year we focused on the types of crime that hurt people the most, which helped us reduce aggravated assaults and rapes but may have come at a cost in terms of property crime."

Axtell and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter have clashed in recent months over the staffing of the police department, with Axtell requesting more officers, while Carter instead preferring increasing the investment in outreach programs, reducing inequality, and improving neighborhoods to stop crimes before they happen.

Here are the 2019 "Part 1" crime figures in St. Paul, compared to 2018 figures.

  • 224 rapes (19.1 percent decrease),
  • 545 robberies (2.7 percent decrease),
  • 943 aggravated assaults (13.4 percent decrease),
  • 2,030 burglaries (6.3 percent increase),
  • 6,673 thefts (13.5 percent increase),
  • 2,590 vehicle thefts (12.8 percent increase), and
  • 118 arsons (7.3 percent increase).
  • 30 criminal homicides (100 percent increase),

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