As the level of violent crime soars in many large cities throughout the US in the aftermath of the outbreak of the pandemic as well as large-scale protests against racism, police brutality and social injustice, people who can afford to are abandoning the cities in large numbers.
Violent crime has continued to climb in Minneapolis. Over the weekend, the city recorded two more homicides; police are investigating.
Minneapolis has recorded 42 homicides in the city so far this year. That number includes the killing of George Floyd by police earlier this year. Usually police killings aren’t included in homicide counts, but it is included in MPR News’ tally since criminal charges have been filed.
That’s more than double the number of killings in the city at this point last year — and the city is rapidly approaching the total number of homicides in the city in all of 2019. The unofficial tally for last year is 48.
The FBI hasn’t published its annual crime statistics, which will provide the official number.
In addition, 288 people have been shot and wounded so far this year, 121 more people hit by gunfire than at the same period last year.
The increase in violent criminal activity is happening at a time when the number of police officers on the street is declining. Moreover, members of the City Council are supporting a change to the police charter that would eliminate the police department as it is currently constituted.
At the same time as violent crime in increasing, response time data show that it is taking officers longer to respond to certain 911 calls, in part due to the shrinking size of the force. Also, City officials say 111 officers are on leave. Those leaves are classified as either intermittent or continuous. The Police Department is currently authorized to have 888 officers.
A Charter Commission has been established to consider reforms to the city’s police department. If the proposal for reforms goes forward, the City Council will hold a public hearing and a vote to approve the language for a ballot scheduled to be held in November. LINK
While the police department has been subjected to withering criticism this year, the Minnesota Freedom Fund (MFF) is also being accused of misconduct. The fund received $35 million in donations in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, with many of those donations intended to help protesters who were jailed during the demonstrations and riots in May. Prior tax returns in 2017 and 2018 showed MFF received about $100,000 in donations.
News reports are accusing the fund of misuse of the money received from donations to lodge bail for people who have been arrested on grounds not associated with exercising the right to protest in an orderly manner. LINK
As the level of violent crime continues to rise, more people are abandoning the cities most affected.
The New York Post reported on Sunday that “moving companies can barely keep up” with the New York City residents who “are fleeing the city so fast because of the pandemic and deteriorating quality of life in the Big Apple.”
One moving company told The Post that even though the company has four of its own trucks, they had to start using U-Haul trucks as well to meet the demand.
The volume has increased by at least 70 percent in the past few months, with around 25 percent of the company’s customers heading from New York City to states such as Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
Residents in major US cities like New York and San Francisco have been leaving in droves due to various factors, including the lack of jobs during the coronavirus pandemic and a potential increase in violent crime, according to a column posted earlier this month.
Large cities were already hurting before the pandemic. Now, statistics from Indeed, an employment-related search engine, have shown that major US metropolitan areas have seen a greater rise in unemployment and a larger percentage of job loss compared to smaller metros. LINK
Antifa and Black Lives Matter are organising events that degenerate into acts of large-scale violence and looting. At the same time, white supremacist groups and extreme right-wing militias have been accused of infiltrating the police and other law enforcement and security forces throughout the country on a large scale. LINK
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