Violent Crimes Up in 2012

Neighborhood in Rochester

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KIMT NEWS 3 — There are some numbers being released in Minnesota and they are not ones you want to hear.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) is releasing statistics that show, in the state of Minnesota, there was an increase in violent crime in 2012.

The numbers show an increase of nearly 3.5 percent from 2011 to 2012, but that does not seem to bother some.

Jon Bangtson just wrapped up a round of disk golf in a Rochester neighborhood that had a case of shots fired a week ago, but he is not too concerned.

“I’ve never seen anything violent happen at the park, if it does it’s usually between somebody who has a quarrel with somebody else,” Bangtson said.

In fact as a pizza delivery driver, he does not even get worried when delivering to neighborhoods that have dealt with crime.

“It’s more the drivers out there that scare me. A lot of people nowadays they drive without licenses or do things like texting and driving,” Bangtson said.

But the crime that took place in the Rochester neighborhood is just a reflection of what has happened a lot in 2012.

The BCA says violent crimes have gone up a bit since 2011, but local police say that should not be something to worry about too much.

“Numbers tend to fluctuate; the majority in increase in violent crime that the BCA is reporting is due to increase in murders. Freeborn County’s been relatively stable with murders, we had no murders in 2012,” said Lt. Darren Hanson of the Albert Lea Police Department.

Many may think that increase in crime could be due to the unusually warm year, but Hanson says not so fast.

“I wouldn’t necessarily come out and say that crime increases with hot weather, but we do tend to be busier. People tend to not get along as well when the weather gets hot,” Hanson said.

While murder, aggravated assault and arson went up in 2012 statewide, our area deals with a smaller problem.

“Crime sprees in Albert Lea, if you want to call them that, kind of go in streaks. The biggest spree we tend to see is vehicles gone through. You’ll have a couple kids or young adults out going through vehicles and they might go through ten or 20 vehicles and take pocket change or whatever else they can find and that’ll spike our numbers for a particular month,” Hanson said.

So seeing stats like these will not get Bangtson all worked up.

“I think if you worry about it too much, you’re really going to just cause an ulcer or something if you think about it too much and you’re going to make the problem bigger than it is,” Bangtson said.

Hanson says the Albert Lea Police Department has not seen a large increase in any particular crime. The kids going through cars seems to be their biggest problem right now.

The BCA does say that while there was a 26 percent increase in murders in 2012, when they looked over the past five years there was significant fluctuation in the numbers.

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