Most Minnesotans feel safe in their community, though the overall crime victim rate remains at about 30 percent based on a 1996 state crime survey by Minnesota Planning. Expectations about crime are coming closer to reality.
Changing Perceptions: 1996 Minnesota Crime Survey, released today by Minnesota Planning, details citizen perceptions and experiences of crime in 1995 and makes comparisons to the first statewide crime survey conducted in 1993.
"Current crime rates are simply not acceptable," said Governor Arne H. Carlson. "We must redouble efforts, especially in our cities where the problems are greatest."
About 46 percent of Minnesotans expect to become a crime victim in the coming year -- a 9 percent drop over three years and coming closer to the 30 percent overall crime victim rate.
Yet, 93 percent of Minnesotans feel safe in their community. Contradictory on the surface, these numbers may reflect how safe people feel in and out of their communities. Of crime victims, 87 percent also reported feeling safe in their communities.
Crime can have a significant impact on people's lives, but surprisingly, 6 out of 10 crime victims regarded the incident as a nuisance with a minor impact on their lives. Only 15 percent classified the event as having a major impact.
"Minnesotans generally feel safe," said Linda Kohl, Minnesota Planning director. "However, among young people and city residents the crime victim rate is near 50 percent."
Victimization trends changed very little between the two surveys — 30 percent of 1996 survey respondents reported they had been crime victims in the last year, compared to 31 percent of the 1993 respondents. Property crimes outnumbered violent offenses by almost three to one.
People most likely to be victims were among one or more of the following groups:
- Between 15- and 24-years-old
- Living in the city
- Working part-time, or
- Residents of their community for less than one year
A majority of residents, 64 percent, felt crime was not a problem or only a slight problem in their community. Compared to 1993, 7 percent fewer people in the 1996 survey said that fear of crime prevents them from doing things they enjoy. Fewer think that violent crime will get worse in the next three years. Other positive results include an overall rating of excellent for law enforcement officials, up 6 points.