Monday, October 09, 2006

Criminals Running Amok

Not Minneapolis this time.

If you left Minneapolis to escape the crime, and you landed a couple of hours north on the edge of Lake Superior, you're in for a rude awakening. The city on the hill with the expansive view of the lake has become a hotbed of crime and violence over the last couple of years.

It's not a stretch to theorize that as goes Minneapolis, so goes the state.

On 10/2/06 I wrote about the surging Duluth crime rates here: "Violent Crime Moves To Duluth".

Today's Red Star recognizes that Duluth has entered it's very own Quagmire: "Duluth 'just a different town nowadays'".

Gangs, drugs and fewer cops have bred a 20 percent increase in crime in the city.

Chuck Haga, Star Tribune

DULUTH - Jennifer Randa didn't need to see the official numbers released this month by the Duluth Police Department: crime up nearly 20 percent from 2004 to 2005, with drug crime more than doubling and violent crimes up by 32 percent.
The timing of these numbers closely correlates with those of Minneapolis. Once that base of criminal operations is established in the metro area, it's easier to branch out to new territory.

"My [Jennifer Randa] son is 19," she said. "He's in school, studying to be a police officer.

"He was getting dropped off the other night after studying at a friend's house, and a guy came running at the car with a gun in his hand."

Her son and his friend drove off, she said. He called her later to say he would stay at the friend's house rather than risk another attempt to come home.

A month before, he was working at a gas station when it was robbed.

"I like to take a walk every day," Randa said, glancing at the mission door, thinking about the scenic harbor view from the streets on the hillside above, a view many consider one of the northern Minnesota city's premier attractions.

"But I'm scared to take my walk anymore," she said.
Living in fear is no way to live, especially in outstate cities like Duluth, which, in the past, have not been immune to crime, but far removed from most urban-type ills.

That trend is changing.

"Duluth is definitely seeing more crimes involving drugs, more crimes involving gangs and more crimes related to those activities," [Police Chief] Hanson said.

Assaults, robberies and burglaries all spiked in 2005, and indications are that the trends are continuing this year...
So now Minnesota has gangs in the liberal bastion of Northfield, gangs and crime in Faribault, guns and drugs in Duluth, and gang acitivity in St. Cloud, all, I will submit, an extension of the lawlessness that has been allowed to go unabated in Minneapolis.

Where will the good people go if even cities like Duluth are no longer safe harbor?