Murders were down and violent crime numbers stayed relatively steady in Minnesota in 2016, according to new figures.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) released its 2016 Uniform Crime Report Tuesday, It's based on crime data reported to the BCA by police departments, sheriff's offices and other local law enforcement across the state.
The report is wide-ranging, but the headline figures show there were around 100 murders in 2016 – a 23 percent decline on the 130 confirmed in 2015 – and that violent crime overall was pretty flat, with a 0.9 percent increase.
This slight rise is because of 21 more reported rapes in 2016 compared to the year before (up from 2,300 in to 2,321), and a rise in aggravated assaults (up from 6,981 reports to 7,026). Robberies declined slightly.
A significant increase in the number of reports of commercial sex trafficking was also noted, with the number of cases almost doubling from 119 in 2015 to 235 last year.
The BCA, however, says this increase is partly due to the ramping up of "proactive sting operations" where the law enforcement officers pose as people under the age of 18.
There's better news for property crimes, which fell 3.7 percent compared to 2015 with burglary dropping for the fifth consecutive year, while instances of arson also fell by 14.3 percent.
Larceny was down but there was a pretty big increase in vehicle thefts, with 8,649 reports compared to 7,921 the year before.
A closer look at hate crimes
Hate crimes are in the headlines today because of a Bureau of Justice Statistics report that was released showing the number reported across the country from 2004-2015.
The report found there are about 250,000 hate crimes reported in the U.S. every year, and this figure stayed pretty similar over those 11 years.
Most of the hate crime victims (62 percent) say attacks on them – which mostly took verbal form – were motivated by race, with ethnicity, gender and sexuality the next three most common motivations.
The report found that more than half – 54 percent – of reported hate crime "victimizations" were not reported to law enforcement, the most common reason being that it was handled privately or "through a non-law enforcement official."
The BCA report found that in 2016, Minnesota saw a rise in "bias-motivated crimes," with 122 reported compared to 96 a year earlier.
However, this number is still much lower than the 154 and 175 reported in 2013 and 2012 respectively.
The BCA found that almost half of the bias crimes were motivated by race, and they most commonly took the form of assaults, vandalism and intimidation.