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Disaster Criminology Used to Investigate Minneapolis 2020 Homicide Wave 

A Minneapolis non-fatal shooting in summer of 2021 at 13th & Lake St. E., Police performed CPR until the Paramedics arrived (Photo by Dallas Drake).

Minneapolis  was  struck  by  two  co-occurring
disasters  in  2020.  First  on  March  6th   the
president announced COVID-19 had appeared
in the United States and soon Minnesota had
developed lethal cases of Corona Virus. The
severeness  of  the  pandemic,  combined  with
its rapid onset and spread was said to create
pandemic anxiety. But how would this affect
the crime rate, and in particular, homicide?
Then a second disaster hit on May 25th with
the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis
Police Officer. In the subsequent days, rioting
broke  out  and  two  police  stations  were
burned, including the Third Precinct, but also
a police substation at Lake Street and Chicago
Ave.  S.  Hundreds  of  businesses  were
vandalized, burned, or looted.

Researchers  paid  particular  attention  to
deaths during the riots, but also monitored
patterns of news coverage and matched them
with various crime patterns that endured into
2021.  The  resulting  paper  illuminates  the
timing  and  impact  of  the  crime  wave  that

Surprisingly,  few  homicides  occurred  in  the
week of unrest. One looter was shot outside
Cadillac  Pawn  store,  and  another  one  was
found  burned  in  the  ashes  of  another  store
further east on Lake Street. A third death was
rumored to have occurred inside a liquor store
but turned out to be untrue.

As the weeks and months wore on, homicides
citywide  spiked,  as  did  non-fatal  shootings,
and  other  types  of  violent  crimes  including
car-jackings.  Non-violent  crimes  remained
low throughout, however.

Despite the nearly record number of murders
in 2021, homicides were still below those of
the drug war during the mid-1990s.

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