State, local, area crime rates decline

ST. PAUL — Recently released statistics collected by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) show that the state crime rate has dropped to its lowest level in 50 years.

Agency data includes homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, arson and two human trafficking categories. The report showed that, overall, such crimes take place about half as much as they did in the late 1980s and 1990s.

In addition, the report showed crime declined about 4 percent from 2015 to 2016.

Statewide murders fell from 130 in 2015 to 100 last year, a decline of about 23 percent. Violent crime, rape and major assaults rose by less than one percent in 2016.

Brown County’s combined crime rate fell from 3,965 in 2015 to 3,928 in 2016, according to the report. The crime rate clearing percentage remained at 68 percent.

“The crime rate may be down but criminal activity is up,” said Brown County Chief Deputy Jason Seidl. “We’re still plenty busy with prisoner transports, serving civil papers. We’re doing more community policing now, which helps. Overall, law enforcement activity is up.”

Community policing focuses on police building ties and working closely with community members. It requires police to address public safety concerns.

The overall assessment of community policing is positive, with officers and community members attesting to its effectiveness in reducing crime and boosting a community sense of security, according to Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Brown County’s 3,928 overall crime rate in 2016 compares to 9,160 in Blue Earth County. Renville County had 7,894 crimes; McLeod County 6,077; Nicollet County 5,027; Redwood County 4,889; Watonwan County 4,591; and Sibley County 2,584.

Minnesota began collecting sex trafficking data in 2014. Statewide data showed a large increase in these reports. Such crimes nearly doubled from 2015 to 2016. There were 119 reports in 2015 and 235 in 2016.

In Brown County, there were 24 human trafficking reports in 2016. That figure compares with nine in Nicollet County. Other area counties did not have human trafficking figures in 2016.

Brown County had 16 prostitution reports in 2016. That number compares to three in Nicollet County.

Brown County had 290 DUI reports in 2016. That compares to 361 in McLeod County. Nicollet County had 224, Redwood County 326, Renville County 489, Sibley County 291, and Watonwan County 312.

Brown County had 230 drug abuse reports in 2016. That compares to 274 in McLeod County. Nicollet County had 183, Redwood County 183, Renville County 54, Sibley County 135, and Watonwan County 340.

Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com.

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