by Anna Miller
Minnesotans under the age of 40 are two times more likely to be murdered than die from COVID-19, Center of the American Experiment economist John Phelan said in a recent article.
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 42 Minnesotans under the age of 40 have died from COVID-19. According to the Center of the American Experiment, at least 88 Minnesotans under the age of 40 have died in a homicide since March 21 — the date of Minnesota’s first reported COVID-19 case.
Phelan noted that the Legislature’s 2021 priorities should include crime reduction, saying that if lawmakers ignore the issue they will “have some serious questions to answer.”
Both Minneapolis and St. Paul experienced significant increases in violent crime in 2020.
The St. Paul Police Department recently issued a preliminary end of year statement with crime statistics for 2020. There was a rise in violent crime across the board, with the exception of rapes and residential burglaries, which both saw decreases.
Overall, violent crimes increased by nearly 25 percent in St. Paul last year while property crimes increased by 14.9 percent.
The police department said the increase in property crimes was driven largely by commercial burglaries and arsons, which were up 70.5 percent and 78 percent, respectively.
On the year, St. Paul police responded to 244,965 calls for service, 2,326 reports of shots fired, 220 reports of people shot, and 34 homicides.
Saint Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell attributed the rise in crime to the “global pandemic, historic levels of rioting and very real economic pain.”
“It’s astonishing to me that people would use these incidents as an opportunity to take advantage of others, victimize people and add to the misery,” he said. “But sadly, that’s what we’ve seen — right here in Saint Paul and throughout the country. But we’re dedicated to doing our part to return a sense of normalcy to the community.”
Minneapolis, meanwhile, experienced 84 total homicides and more than 500 shootings in 2020. Sixty-eight of the homicides were shootings. There were 48 homicides in Minneapolis in 2019, meaning murders increased by 75 percent in 2020.
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Anna Miller is a marketing intern at Alpha News. She is majoring in entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas.