St. Paul saw an overall drop last year in serious crime while experiencing a double-digit increase in reported rapes, according to preliminary statistics released Friday.

The city’s year-end crime statistics for 2018 showed a 7.2 percent drop from the previous year in Part I crimes, which include the most serious offenses such as murder, rape and aggravated assault.

St. Paul police said the drop was “largely driven by significant decreases” in criminal homicides and four other crimes. There were 15 criminal homicides last year compared to 22 in 2017.

Annual homicide numbers ranged from 11 to 22 between 2013 and last year.

The numbers don’t include officer-involved shootings or other deaths that are cleared of wrongdoing by a review of a county attorney’s office.

Three deaths were deemed “justifiable” last year: St. Paul police shot and killed William Hughes last August but were cleared of criminal wrongdoing. A civilian was cleared in one case, and in another an unborn child died but was not counted as a “criminal homicide” by FBI standards, police said.

While homicides experienced the steepest drop — nearly 32 percent — robberies, burglaries, thefts and arson were also down by double digit percentage points last year.

The city saw a nearly 28 percent increase in reported rapes. There were 277 cases reported, the highest in the last six years. There were 217 cases reported in 2017.

Motor vehicle thefts and aggravated assaults also increased.

Overall, Part I crimes last year were down nearly 9 percent from 2013.

St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell said the drop was due to police work, community engagement and other partnerships.

“St. Paul is a city united in its effort to keep our streets safe for everyone,” he said in a news release. “But we know that we must remain vigilant and galvanized.”

St. Paul police said the data was based on “initial incident information” and could change when it is later submitted to the FBI.

Data released by Minneapolis police last year also showed a decrease in Part I crimes in that city.


Twitter: @ChaoStrib