ROCHESTER, Minn. — New numbers from Minnesota Compass shows that crime rates are on their way down across the state.
They say since 1990 they have dropped nearly 40 percent, mostly when it comes to property crimes. But area law enforcement says they might be looking in the wrong area.
Captain John Sherwin and his team at the Rochester Police Department are keeping busy these days. Recently they arrested two people for selling heroin during a statewide crackdown.
“Over the course of the past month we’ve purchased a significant amount of heroin from those two individuals,” Sherwin said.
On the county level, the Narcotics and Gang Task Force just raided a home in a northwest Rochester neighborhood. A K-9 unit helped with that arrest.
“That’s just the tip of the iceberg of the investigations that we are currently working,” Sherwin said.
He said violent crimes have definitely gone down over the past few years. They witnessed a major increase during the economic downturn.
“Hopefully our efforts are what’s triggering that decrease, but the reality is in police work and in general, crime throughout the united states that even through your best efforts, you might not be effective,” Sherwin said.
“There wasn’t a lot of internet fraud, there wasn’t a lot of identity theft and those kind of things and those don’t actually meet the definition of theft or larceny,” said Chief Roger Peterson of the Rochester Police Department.
Peterson has worked with the Rochester Police Department for more than three decades. He says, yes, some crime rates are going down, but the reality is there are still a lot of criminal problems.
“What you’re looking at in terms of trend data doesn’t necessarily include new trends or new technology that wasn’t contemplated when those definitions were made,” Peterson said.
He said technology based crimes like internet and identity theft and fraud are escalating quickly. It is still those drug-related crime numbers that are pushing those numbers in the wrong direction as well.
“Narcotics related crime, it certainly hasn’t decreased, in fact it’s probably increased, it’s a reflection more of your population,” Sherwin said.
Both officers say that technology has drastically changed the way the do their jobs. Some for the better and some for the worse, but in the end the goal is still to keep the community as safe as possible.