But an unusually low homicide rate in 2011 inflated the 2012 change.
Serious crime in St. Paul stayed nearly static between 2011 and 2012, as violent crimes increased and property crimes decreased.
Part I crimes, which include murder, rape and residential burglary, dropped 0.33 percent in 2012, according to preliminary data released Monday. That percentage doesn't include arson.
Last year's numbers show minimal change in most categories of serious crimes, although the city experienced a 112 percent increase in homicides, from eight in 2011 to 17 in 2012, which include three civilians fatally shot by police officers. Police spokesman Howie Padilla said that dramatic shift was due to the unusually low rate in 2011; the city's homicide numbers typically fall in the mid-teens.
"We were happy about eight [in 2011], but we also cautioned everybody ... this is an anomaly," Padilla said.
Violent crime was up 5 percent while property crimes were down about 1 percent last year. These crimes experienced an increase in 2012:
Aggravated assaults, 4 percent.
Robberies, 6.95 percent.
Theft, 0.5 percent.
Crimes that experienced a decrease were:
Rape, down 2.6 percent.
Auto theft, down 2.4 percent.
Commercial burglary, down 14 percent.
Residential burglary, down 1 percent.
Padilla said that police administration and command staff meet every two weeks to examine crime trends to better deploy resources throughout the year. It's too early to say how 2012 numbers will affect policing this year, he said.
"These figures are preliminary," he said. "We're going to scrub these figures and see what they mean for our city and department."
Chao Xiong 612-270-4708 Twitter: @ChaoStrib