Crime still makes the news all too often in Minneapolis, but take a look at 1975 crime stats for the city and you’ll feel like today’s criminal element doesn’t figure as largely in city life as it once did.
Burglary then: 7,559
Burglary today: 4,810
Robbery then: 2,682
Car theft then: 5,085
That’s according to a book unearthed at the Minneapolis Public Library last month during a sale of its unwanted texts, which included “Community Crime Prevention: Crime in Minneapolis,” printed in May 1977.
The 309-page book was part of a 1975 Governor’s Commission on Crime Prevention and Control. It amounted to a massive paper sorting project for a bunch of college and law students who were hired to thumb through 22,000 Minneapolis police reports to gather the statistics. (No computerized stats back then, of course. Bill Gates hadn’t even dropped out of Harvard yet.)
The students looked at reports from July 1, 1974 to June 30, 1975, coming up with the numbers reported above. The more recent figures are the totals from 2010.
Some of the comparisons don’t quite match up. The students reported 4,156 assaults, but that included aggravated and simple assault. The police department today reports only aggravated assaults in their reported tallies. Aggravated assaults for 2010 numbered 2,021, the police said.
The only increase was in the category of rape. The Minneapolis police reported 381 in 1975; last year they reported 441. That could be a reflection of today’s victims being more willing to step forward.
The 1977 report also said that Minneapolis spent $20 million annually for “police protection”, or about $79.6 million in today’s dollars. If that was the total police budget, it’s much smaller than today. Today the city spends $136 million, at most recent counting, on police. That number may include services, such as the 911 center, that weren’t included in the mid-70’s figure, however.