Visualizing Minneapolis’ Murders

Jeff Severns Guntzel is doing some interesting work with the murder data in the City of Minneapolis. After aggregating much of the publicly available data surrounding each murder and putting it into a Google Fusion Table, it’s relatively easy to get a feel for what’s happening when, where, with what, and to whom.

For example, he has a map of the murders to date for 2010. Unfortunately, the way that particularly perspective is presented on MinnPost is a bit misleading, since it crops off much of the city of Minneapolis where no murders have happened (from 34th St to the southern border of the city, from the Mississippi River to France Ave S, so around 20 sq miles worth of murder-free neighborhoods.)

Since the data has been made available in a Google Fusion Table, others can hop in and parse out additional perspectives on the data. Here are a couple examples I thought up:

Murders by Police Precinct

Minneapolis Murders by Police Precinct (2010 Thru Nov 4th)
Find precinct map here.

Murders by Time of Day

Minneapolis Murders by Time of Day

A justification for curfews?

11 thoughts on “Visualizing Minneapolis’ Murders”

  1. IMO murders should not be the statistic that drives crime prevention. While being the ultimate crime, statistics will also reveal that the vast majority of deaths occur between criminals. Sure, murders are a PR nightmare, but it is the livability standards in a community that lead criminals to escalate their behaviors to initiate these acts.

    The Minneapolis Police Department seems to operate in a Reactionary mode trying to prosecute the most severe crimes. Instead of employing resources to prevent the crooks from killing one another, more effort needs to be focused at the anti-social behaviors that escalate criminal to these behaviors. Curfews are an excellent start.

    A simple example is calling 911 on a vehicle parked in front of your house with loud music blaring at 3:00am. First, there are no patrol units seeking out this behavior. It goes largely ignored until 911 gets a call by a concerned homeowner who is trying to sleep. It takes the police up to 20 minutes to respond in which time the hoodlums have moved on to the next block. If the police do arrive in time, they simply tell the driver to turn down the music and move on. At 3:00am in the morning the likelihood of the cars participants being underage, under the influence of controlled substances, having warrants, not having a license, insurance, title, and registration of the vehicle, having possession of a weapon,drugs or alcohol is probably pretty high. The act of loitering and playing loud music after 10:00pm is a crime. Yet no charges or checks are made and these criminal continue to the next neighborhood. This activity will continue nightly until it has forced working class owner occupants out of the community and even more homes become run down rentals exhibiting this behavior. Soon it is the norm.

    If I operated a restaurant, and didn’t care about the quality of the food I served until someone got sick or died, the only customers I would have are those that had no concern for the ultimate fate of death.

    The Minneapolis Police need to be much more Proactive concerning livability crimes and make burgeoning criminals more accountable for their behaviors.

    There needs to be better cooperation with prosecuting attorneys. Social services needs to step up it’s involvement and work to get juveniles out of potentially harmful settings and use crime reports to track section 8 and entitlement eligibility. The city needs to re-examine it’s inspection programs as they relate to rental quality and liberalize owner occupant inspection requirements on foreclosures so we can attract better neighbors.

    Our Mayor needs to be a leader to start breaking down department barriers that prevent city services from working closer together for urban livability. Our elected officials need to start making our communities more livable. They need to fund positive initiatives and identify wasted funding for Reactionary programs within the City.

  2. Well said Joel. I think we need to go back to what they did a few years back cracking down on the most minor of nuicense crimes based on the assumption that those who have so little regard for their nighbors are likley to commit more serious crimes when no one is looking.

  3. Cracking down on thugs who walk in the middle of the street and ignore traffic laws is another good way to intercept the class of lawless individuals who are likely to become both perps and victims of violent crime. But, really, rather than demanding more action from the police it is far easier to take more action ourselves: drive around in North Minneapolis and make 911 calls on obvious drug and prostitution loitering. Or, you know, look out your window more often and make those calls.

  4. I agree that citizen involvement is a necessary element in maintaining civil conduct in our community. Driving around reporting crimes is great; but you are missing my point.

    Once the authorities have been called to investigate reported acts of misconduct, it is imperative that they pursue all potential aspects of criminal activity – not just usher the offenders down the street.

    Most often when reporting disruptive activity the police will ask – “Have you tried talking to the offender?” What good will come of initiating a personal conflict with the sociopathic tenant next door when the law enforcement community takes so little interest in providing a basic environment of support for homeowners? Many long term residents have given up on depending on the police and choose to stay anonymous? With many in the community opting to put up with crimes and nuisances rather than risk confronting them, thugs become emboldened and the level of offenses escalates. This is what makes it necessary for individuals like yourself to cruise around reporting crimes.

    I can’t tell you how many times I have been told “that’s the way it is in NoMi and if I don’t like it I should move to the suburbs”. Well, growing up in the suburbs I can tell you that even when the cops pull you over for a minor traffic offense they thoroughly check you out and will prosecute. That’s why many criminals feel more comfortable living in urban areas.

    I realize that the Mpls. police are faced with an overwhelming problem and they are not getting adequate cooperation from the court system, welfare system, and the city administration. Civic leaders have to start identifying the root of the problems faced by urban areas and stop throwing money at non-profits to patch up the symptoms of lenient civil enforcement of the law.

  5. Joel, I can relate on the dealing with problem neighbors directly challenge. My wife and I have been dealing with some vandalism lately from a neighbor who now knows who’s been watching him. It’s a pain, and causing a few too many trips to Frattallone’s for new windows.

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  7. Exactly!

    These creeps know they have already intimidated others in your neighborhood and my guess is that they are renters who have very little stake in the community.

    It irks the hell out of me to know that I am the only one reporting recurring nuisance behavior and crime that impacts my neighborhood when I see the cops nonchalantly waive the offenders away.

    Each time I call 911, I am asked for my name, address, and phone number – yet rarely do the cops take the time to get as much information from the offenders. I feel many people are intimidated by giving this information for fear it will end up being given to the thugs. If the are immigrant citizens (as most are) their silence is almost assured. What gives? Are the police suggesting that they fear coming into our community without first validating the victim and the report? And random patrols are non-existent.

    With the support I see, the suggestion to organize and become a community block captain is a joke. If law enforcement were to show a stronger presence with better follow through in the neighborhoods the violent crime statistics would drop considerably.

  8. Joel,

    It’s really hard to put blame on the cops, when they know the system will just let the offenders off with barely a slap on the wrist. They’re doing the best with the resources they have, I believe. The problem is more rooted in the politics of this city. When you have a city that spends half a million dollars of stimulus money on extending a bike path to the new tax payer funded baseball stadium, but cuts the number of officers on the street, you just can’t blame the men and women in blue. Pressure has to be put on the bureaucrats at the top, but half of them just want to tax the “rich” to pay for more entitlement programs. Property values fell sharply this year, yet property taxes jumped over 10% in Minneapolis. This strategy is only going to drive more wealth away from the city and invite more of the bad elements in.

  9. Lee, you bring up a ton of interesting points. As I understand it, the raising property taxes in Minneapolis are largely due to paying for a police pension. We could pay for more cops on the street if we didn’t live up to the promises we’ve made to cops in the past.

    The $500k bike path will last for decades but pays for 1 cop on the street for a few years. Yes, a trade-off, but I think it’s a justified capital expense that makes the entire Grand Rounds bike trails more valuable by completing the last segment a key loop.

    While I may feel like the rich are being taxed to pay for more entitlement programs, that’s simply not the case if you look at the city’s budget.

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