|Nation's Healthiest City Harbors Dark Secret about Crime|
Rescue and cleanup crews are being protected by Minneapolis Police on the north side of the city as a curfew is in effect. There were also reports of gunfire and looting in storm-damaged sections of the north side Sunday.
The city of Minneapolis has issued a Curfew, effective from 9 p.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday for areas between I-94, Penn, Plymouth, and Dowling Avenues.
Residents are told to stay in their homes during that time — and not enter the perimeter if they are outside.
Police Chief Tim Dolan, who’s been with the department for nearly 30 years, claims this is the first curfew he has seen in the city.
Another report on the need for a “curfew” stated looting took place at a liquor store and gunshots were fired:
Soon after a tornado ripped through North Minneapolis pm Sunday afternoon, an estimated 20 looters ripped off Broadway Liquor Outlet.
The high winds that downed trees and tore off roofs in the area also smashed the glass storefront of the liquor store at 2201 W. Broadway Ave., which was closed.
The looters stole liquor, cigarettes and cash, said owner Dean Rose. The store had plywood boards nailed to its exterior by 7:30 p.m., but broken glass and cases of beer could be seen scattered on the floor inside. Rose said Sunday night he didn't know the extent of the theft.
Minneapolis Police on Sunday night could not confirm reports of looting.
"It's devastating," said Rose, the third generation of his family to run the store. "It puts us out of business."
"It's an unfortunate disaster," he said. "The whole community has been hit hard."
Asia Harris, 26, of Minneapolis said she saw the looters as the storm struck. Debris hit the Honda Accord she was driving, but she took notice of the thefts.
"Once it hit, they started taking things out," she said.
Some of the city's poorest neighborhoods face rebuilding after a swift, deadly tornado ripped through northern Minneapolis, tearing roofs off houses, toppling huge trees and power lines and knocking over rail cars.
In neighboring Ramsey County, 49 percent of Black people are on food stamps as compared to just 4 percent of whites while 12 percent of that county's overall population receives foot stamps.
The statistics tell a tragic story. According to federal crime figures, homicide is the leading cause of death among African-American males aged 15 to 34. They also indicate that between 1976 and 2004, 94 percent of black murder victims were killed by black offenders. While "black-on-black crime" is having a devastating impact in Minnesota and across the country, its racial overtones have made it a difficult problem to address or even discuss. In this story, three community leaders weigh in on the roots of black-on-black crime and what, if anything, can be done about it.St. Paul, Minn. — St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington views black-on-black crime as a scourge ripping apart his community. Since racial breakdowns of crime statistics are hard to come by in Minnesota, Harrington has been forced to do a lot of digging.
He determined that in 2006, 70 percent of all aggravated assaults in St. Paul, the most violent crimes on the books, were committed against African-Americans. Given the proportion of blacks in the local population, Harrington was shocked.
"In the city where ten percent of the [population] is black, how can you have 70 percent of your victims of this particular crime, which is one of the most horrendous crimes you can do, how can that be so out of whack?" he asks.
As a first step toward controlling the problem, Harrington says you have to figure out who is in the suspect pool. When he divided the suspects by race, it gave him a snapshot of the degree to which black-on-black violence afflicts St. Paul.
"Just like 70 percent of my victims are black, 70 percent of my suspects are black," he says.
Harrington says black-on-black crime is an outgrowth of two huge problems affecting Black America: the high rate of out-of-wedlock births and gangs.
The purpose of this report is to examine the experience of African American males in the criminal justice system. The focus is on males, 18 to 30 years old who are arrested, convicted, and sentenced in Hennepin County District Court. Data on arrests are from the Minneapolis Police Department and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). Data on jail bookings were obtained from the Hennepin County Sheriff. Data on court dispositions and sentences were provided by Hennepin County District Court.
The information contained in this report reflects some of the data being compiled as part of a larger effort to examine the nature, extent, and causes of racial disparities throughout Minnesota’s criminal justice system. Compared to other states, Minnesota has the greatest black-to-white disparity in imprisonment rates. In 1997, the most recent year for which state-by-state data are available, the ratio of African Americans to whites in state prison was 25.09 to 1. This is the highest ratio of all states. In 2000, 37.2% of the state’s prisoners were African American. By comparison only 3.5% of the population of Minnesota was African American. The disparities are not limited to the “back end” of the criminal justice system. For violent offenses, the arrest rate of African Americans in 1999 was 1,621 per 100,000. The comparable arrest rate for whites was 76 per 100,000 resulting in African Americans being 21 times more likely to be arrested for violent crimes than whites.
In Hennepin County in 1999, African Americans represented over half (51.5%) of the arrests for violent crimes1 and whites represented 29.5% of violent crime arrests. Of all counties in Minnesota only Ramsey County was higher in the percentage of African Americans arrested for violent crimes (52.9%). African Americans accounted for a smaller percentage of arrests for property crimes (33.3%) than whites (40%). The percentage of African Americans arrested for violations of narcotic drug laws was twice as high as the percentage of whites arrested, 58.7% compared to 30%.