Minneapolis is the 25th most dangerous city in the country, according to a report published by 24/7 Wall St., a news and opinion website.
As alarming as that might sound, those who monitor crime view such rankings warily.
“It’s not the sort of thing that as a criminologist that we take terribly seriously because it’s not a good way to learn about crime trends or what particular places are dangerous,” said Christopher Uggen, sociology and law professor at the University of Minnesota. “These rankings are great click bait in many ways because we all want to know how we’re doing.”
Using statistics from the FBI’s 2015 Uniform Crime Report along with other data on unemployment, poverty rates, education and household income, the 24/7 Wall St. website, based in New York, came out this week with its rankings of the 25 most dangerous and 25 safest cities in America.
Minneapolis landed among the top 25 dangerous cities because of its violent crime rate — 1,063 reported incidents for every 100,000 residents. It’s robbery rate was the 10th highest rate in the country, according the rankings.
St. Louis, Mo., with a violent crime rate of 1,817, was ranked the most dangerous of the 300 largest cities in the country followed by Detroit, with a rate of 1,760. In contrast, Cary, N.C., was ranked the safest city with only 51 violent crimes reported for every 100,000 residents.
Chicago, which had the most homicides of all U.S. cities in 2015, didn’t crack the top 25 most dangerous cities on the list. When all the categories of violent crime were taken into account, Chicago’s violent crime rate was 903, according to John McIntyre, editor in chief at 24/7 Wall St. The violent crime categories included murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, doesn’t buy that Minneapolis is the 25th most dangerous city in the country “when you don’t see Chicago on that list.”
“I have a lot of friends on the PD there and the violent crime there is 10 times what ours is,” Kroll said. Minneapolis averages about one shooting a day compared to 10 shootings a day in Chicago, he said.
“It’s tough to paint Minneapolis with a broad brush,” Kroll said. “There are parts of Minneapolis that are very dangerous at certain times of the day. But there are other places you wouldn’t see a squad car or crime occurring.”
According to police department stats, Minneapolis has had 3,457 violent crime incidents so far this year, a 4 percent increase over the same period last year and a 9.5 percent increase over 2014.
Despite the uptick, comparing Minneapolis to other cities could be complicated.
The FBI, which publishes an annual crime report, cautions against using its statistics to rank cities because “there are many factors that cause the nature and type of crime to vary from place to place. … Rankings ignore the uniqueness of each locale. ”
University professor Uggen said a better way to examine crime is to track long-term trends.
Minneapolis and many other cities have serious crime issues, he said. “But it doesn’t do much good to compare apples, oranges, bananas and pears because they’re very different.”
Minneapolis is safer than it was 20 years ago, he said. “That doesn’t mean we should be complacent,” Uggensaid. “We have serious issues but certainly there’s no cause for alarm.”