In 2019, at least 30 people were killed in gun-related violence in St Paul, doubling the city’s homicide rate. This is the most gun violence seen in the Capital City since 1992.
Gun Violence Explodes in St Paul
Last year, St Paul’s homicide rate doubled due to an alarming rise in gun violence and fatal shootings. In 2019, the number of shooting deaths and handguns used to kill were the highest the Capital City has seen in nearly 30 years. Close to 90 percent of homicides last year involved firearms.
The majority of shooting victims were young men of color ranging in ages from 20 to 41, however, there were a handful of other victims including small children, a young female, and a senior adult male. Many shootings were related to violent crimes such as gang activity, assault, robbery, carjacking, and drug trafficking. Although some arrests were made, many fatal shootings remain unsolved. Most shootings took place after Labor Day, in the last quarter of 2019.
A study done on the rising gun violence in St Paul points to increasing feuds among street groups and gangs involved in turf wars. Many feuds involve violent fighting, drive-by shootings, and homicides between rival gangs who are protecting their territory where narcotics, prostitution, and robberies bring big profits. St Paul criminal lawyers see a high volume of gang-related crimes in certain areas of the city.
The rise in St Paul homicides is causing alarm among residents and putting strain on law enforcement officials who are trying to combat the problems. The resources of the St Paul Police Department are strained with over 40 detectives and police officers assigned to each homicide. According to police officials, a single homicide often results in $25,000 to $30,000 in overtime costs for the department.
In 2019, St Paul law enforcement collected over 530 guns from various sources. Local law enforcement is focusing on people previously arrested with a history of violent behaviors, especially gun violence, people previously convicted for shootings, and people who should not be carrying a firearm. St. Paul’s police chief Todd Axtell, as well as the city’s major Melvin Carter, are calling on federal authorities to help solve the chaos created from the rise in homicides. According to Kevin Smith, a spokesman for the FBI’s Minneapolis field office, the FBI will be assigning personnel and assets to help with St Paul’s gun violence issues.