Following the police shooting death of Justine Damond, people have talked a lot about the Fulton neighborhood’s low crime rate -- and how unusual a police shooting was for the area.
But do areas with more crime see more fatal police encounters?
Not necessarily, according to a Star Tribune analysis of Minneapolis crime rates and deaths related to police use of force.
Deadly encounters with police officers have been scattered across the city the past 18 years, seemingly unrelated to a neighborhood’s average monthly rate of serious crimes per 1,000 people.
The types of serious crimes collected in Minneapolis Police Department reports from the city include homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, auto theft and arson. A crime rate can be derived by analyzing these reported incidents against U.S. Census population estimates for Minneapolis neighborhoods over time, painting a general picture of criminal activity in the city.
The Star Tribune has also tracked force-related deaths involving police across the state going back nearly two decades.
Of the 29 people killed by officers since the year 2000 in Minneapolis, nine were carrying firearms, five had bladed weapons, four were in cars and one had a pellet gun.
The other 10 were unarmed when police encountered them, including Jamar Clark, who was shot by officers in the Near North neighborhood two years ago, and Justine Damond just recently in Fulton.
The contrasts between those neighborhoods are stark: Near North’s average monthly crime rate was about 15.9, while Fulton’s was 1.6. The city’s overall crime rate over the time period was 4.9 incidents per 1,000 residents.
Downtown West, due to low population and a high number of visitors, had the highest crime rate of about 35.2, though police have only killed two people there, one fewer than in Willard – Hay, where the rate was 5.4.
Neighborhood names and borders have changed over time and citywide crime rates have fluctuated, but the city’s hotspots for criminal incidents have remained relatively similar and police haven’t used deadly force in most of them.
Yet police have killed someone in Minneapolis all but three of the past 18 years, with 2007, 2011 and 2014 being the exceptions.
And as is the case both nationally and in Minnesota, deep racial disparities in deadly encounters with police exist in Minneapolis.
About 62 percent of those killed by police in Minneapolis – 18 people – were black, while only 17 percent – or 5 people – were white. Yet the city is about 60 percent white and 19 percent black, according to census statistics.
Deaths in Minneapolis accounted for about 18 percent of all deadly police encounters in Minnesota since the year 2000.
For an even deeper look into police-related deaths statewide, explore the Star Tribune’s database of fatal police encounters.