Gun incidents rose 40 percent in Minneapolis last year, the first significant jump in years following a long-term downward trend in gun-related cases.
The gun incidents in the city report being released Wednesday include people being shot or shot at, reports of gunshot wounds or a gun used in a crime.
Two top law enforcement officials said it’s too soon to say whether the report’s findings signaled the beginning of something new in crime, and pointed instead to the long-term decline.
“Minneapolis is on the right track,” said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, who said the city should stick with its strategies for fighting gun crime. Those things include “going after violent offenders, removing illegal guns, working on the gangs and narcotics problems, and most importantly they leverage their partnerships with other agencies,” he said.
Other highlights in the report, called Results Minneapolis, include a rise in cellphone thefts, a rise in police response times and a drop in internal affairs complaints from 1,427 in 2012 to 934 in 2013. The report also said the department, despite being led by a woman for the first time, had a smaller percentage of female officers last year (15 percent) than it did 10 years previously (16.4 percent).
The sharp rise in gun incidents comes at a time when it’s still far too easy for young people to find illegal guns on the street, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said.
“We’re like the kid with a finger in the dike against this flood of guns,” he said. His office built a website, www.changethestoryhennepin.com, that addresses youth and gun violence. It includes the statistic that 15,576 children and teenagers were injured by firearms nationwide in 2010, a rate of one injury every 30 minutes.