Tumultuous year results in more serious crime in St. Paul

Fire burns in the distance during demonstrations
Fire burns in the distance during demonstrations on May 28, 2020, in St. Paul, following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.
John Minchillo | AP Photo 2020

A year that included violent protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic led to a rise in serious crime in St. Paul in 2020, according to a preliminary report released Wednesday.

The report showed that violent crime including homicide, rape, aggravated assault and robbery increased by nearly 25 percent. Overall, when adding burglary, theft and other offenses into the mix, serious crime was up 15.5. percent.

It was “an incredibly hard year,” St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell said in a statement.

“Between a global pandemic, historic levels of rioting and very real economic pain, our country and city just experienced one of the most difficult periods of time in our city’s history," Axtell said. “It’s astonishing to me that people would use these incidents as an opportunity to take advantage of others, victimize people and add to the misery.”

Arson and commercial burglaries were both up more than 70 percent. Many businesses were raided and burned during violent protests after the May 25 death of Floyd, a Black man who died after a white officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck.

There were a record-tying 34 homicides in the city last year, which was four more than in 2019.

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