Homicide rate is dropping

When 2007 started with five homicides in Minneapolis in January, some thought the city was on its way to a record year for killing. As the year closes, according to the Minneapolis Crime Watch blog, there have been 47 homicides this year.

As it turned out (assuming a quiet weekend), the total is far off the 60 who were killed in the city in 2006, and it’s the lowest total since 2003.

The issue came up today because of a story from the Associated Press that shows homicides are down significantly in cities such as Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York.

Some other cities — Miami, Baltimore, and Atlanta included — have had increases in homicides.

So what’s up in Minneapolis? According to a story from CBS News last month, it’s because of an emphasis on juvenile crime.

“Well a big part of that, we looked at who was committing violent crimes in the city of Minneapolis, it was juveniles that were disproportionate,” (Chief Tim) Dolan said. “They were over 50 percent.”

This new approach in Minneapolis has become a model for the nation. Police officers keeping track of troubled kids before they become hardened criminals.

Last year, homicides in Minneapolis rose more than 20 percent, according to the Police Executive Research Forum. But this year, they’re down almost 20 percent, CBS News learned exclusively.

Learned exclusively“? You mean, like going to the Minneapolis Police Department Web site?

Twenty percent up followed by 20-percent down? In other words, the killing in Minneapolis has returned to the status quo.