Violent crime in Minneapolis increased in 2012, according to preliminary statistics.

Reports of homicides, rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults and other violent crimes grew about 7.6 percent compared to 2011, when the incidence of violent crime hit the lowest levels in nearly three decades.

Serious crime, which includes violent incidents and property crime, is up less than 1 percent from 2011.

All categories of violent crimes are up so far this year, according to city statistics. Rape has increased the most. As of Dec. 17, it was up 12.5 percent, from 368 last year to 414. Robberies are up about 10 percent, growing to 1,686; a year ago there were 1,532 robberies. That's a 12 percent increase compared to two years ago when there were 1,503 robberies. Homicides increased by more than 8 percent compared to last year.

In an interview with the Star Tribune last month, new Police Chief Janeé Harteau said she would combat the rise in violent crimes by continuing to focus on "micro hot spots" where crimes are likely to occur and on individuals most likely to commit them.

Harteau and Mayor R.T. Rybak will discuss complete year-end numbers for 2012 next month during an annual news conference on public safety trends.

"After an upswing in crime numbers early in the year, downward trends in the number of crimes in Minneapolis in the last several months mean that the city is on pace to finish 2012 with crime numbers that are among the lowest in the last 30 years," according to the city news release.

The first few months of 2012 seemed to have been driving the violent crime increase. As of the beginning of April 2012, violent crimes had risen 32 percent over the same period in 2011. However, a downward trend throughout the rest of the year brought the rate down.

Last year, violent crimes dropped to their lowest level since 1983. But a rising number of burglaries and thefts drove the overall crime level up for the second year in a row.

Property crimes have actually dropped a half a percentage point so far this year compared to last. Both burglaries and thefts from motor vehicles have decreased almost 6 percent. Arson was the largest drop, falling by more than 16 percent.

Nicole Norfleet • 612-673-4495 Twitter: @stribnorfleet