Welcome to Miami
It's impossible to dodge the onslaught of local news coverage about Minneapolis' steadily rising murder rate. If it's not the heavy storms taking up a huge chunk of 'CCO's news coverage, it's the "violence and death" that seem to be creeping into our Cities with equal vengeance. Yesterday there was a story in the Strib about a couple, David and Susan, who fled Minneapolis for the 'burbs out of fear of the supposedly ever-looming stray bullet. And then there's the eighth-grade "That's So Raven" fan, Darius Housch, whose collar bone caught a "gang banger's" bullet while he was fast asleep in his home last week. In other words, you better head to the basement and steer clear of those windows, because a tornado and a bullet are threatening to bust through your home at any moment. Or so they say.
So far this year, Minneapolis has recorded 31 homicides, an increase of 40 percent from this time last year. P'shaw! Right? Minneapolis is still relatively safe and crime-free, and our murder rate pales in comparison to other same-size cities that swallow much more violence in a year than we'll see in double that time. Come on. We're no Gary, Indiana!
Actually, according to the preliminary 2004 crime report released by the FBI this month, we are right on par with Gary: In 2004, Minneapolis and Gary both recorded 54 murders. Ok, granted, Gary's population is less than half of that of the city of Minneapolis (373,188 in 2003). But in terms of murders per capita, Minneapolis is shaping up to be more like Miami, whose city (pop. 376, 815) saw 69 murders last year. Still, while the murder rate has increased in Minneapolis, there's no reason to head to the storm shelter or uproot for the 'burbs. The city of St. Louis, whose urban population is similar but dwindling (332,223 residents), had more than double the murders of Minneapolis, recording 113 murders last year. Minneapolis' new motto: At least we're not St. Louis!