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Rise in homicide, rape lead to 8 percent violent crime spike in Hennepin Co.

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Violent crime rose in Hennepin County last year – including a significant increase in homicides.

There was an 8 percent rise in violent crime in Minnesota's largest county in 2015, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office announced Friday, which it says is part of a "national trend" not just confined to the Twin Cities.

The five main offenses judged to be violent crimes are homicide, rape, business robbery, person robbery and aggravated assault, and Hennepin County experienced a rise in all of these.

There were 62 homicides in the county – which includes Minneapolis – compared to 42 in 2014, a 48 percent rise, while rapes rose by 16 percent to 703.

There was a small rise of 3 percent in business robbery, but aggravated assaults – the most common reported violent crime – grew to 2,684, a rise of 13 percent.

"The violent crime increase is a national trend, not just local, making the issue a bigger challenge for law enforcement, and all of us," said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek. "We will continue to work with our community partners, such as businesses and residents, to develop strategies to ensure residents are engaged in prevention."

While violent crime was up, property crime fell overall by 6 percent.

Business and residential burglaries dropped, as did arson and larceny, though there was a big rise in thefts from motor vehicles.

The New York Times reported last August that the first half of 2015 saw a rise in violence in many U.S. cities, including Baltimore, New Orleans and Washington D.C.

This has been put down to a few different factors, including rivalries between street gangs and drug turf dispute, as well as the availability of firearms. Police officials also said "disenchanted young men in poor neighborhoods" are now more willing to settle ordinary disputes with violence.

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