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After Somali Immigrants arrived in Minneapolis, did Crime change differently than in other Minnesota Cities? (Fact Check)

There are some people on the internet, writing for websites with names like “Stormfront” and “Stuff Black People Don’t Lie,” who make a cottage industry out of posting a link every time a Somali immigrant is charged with a crime and blowing that single incident into a blanket condemnation of immigrants, Somalis, Africans and people with dark brown skin.  Minneapolis, Minnesota is one city that has welcomed a large number of Somali refugees seeking a new life.  The race-baiters write about Somali immigrants to Minneapolis in derogatory terms with dire accusations of a crime wave:

  • “None of these Somalis in any city of the United States should be in the country, if the government was actually concerned with creating a strong future for the nation’s actual citizens. It is not. Minneapolis once was a city with one of the lowest crime rates in America and the highest standard of living; social capital (the necessary building-block for building strong communities) was at a premium. Enter the Somali refugees and the importation of crime that the city needed if it was to compete with other vibrant cities in the diversity lottery.”
  • “Violent crimes against Americans are sure to rise as the number of Somalis increase…. As the number of Somalis increase the crime rate will increase and the city and state will be bankrupted from all the foreign welfare freeloaders and welfare cheats.”
  • “After the Somalis arrived in Minneapolis, violence in the city intensified and the crime rate exploded.”

As I showed in a post last November, a simple check of the violent and property crime rates from 1992 (the year before Somalis began arriving in Minneapolis) to now show that both violent and property crime rates have declined, not gone up, in the city.  This trend is directly at odds with the claims made above.

A more subtle if still-racist point is being made by some correspondents: that surely the crime rate has been falling everywhere in the United States lately, and that surely the places with more Somali immigrants have crime rates that are decreasing along with everywhere else, but decreasing at a smaller rate because those nasty, criminal Somalis must be counteracting the general curve.

Let’s test this claim.  I’ve gone to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey for its latest 5-year counts of people of Somali descent in of the 905 incorporated cities of the state of Minnesota.  Results confirm that the city of Minneapolis has the highest number of people of Somali descent living there (12,702) and the highest percent of residents who are of Somali descent (3.26%).  I’ve also gone to the Uniform Crime Reports data tool supplied by the FBI and looked up the violent crime rate and property crime rate for every city in Minnesota with a population of 50,000 of more (crime rate is measured as number of crimes per 100,000 population).

The combined result is shown in the tables below.  Unfortunately, the violent crime can only be reported through 2004 because after 2004 many Minnesota cities began reporting rape data in a way that is inconsistent with the Uniform Crime Reports; the FBI has therefore excluded post-2004 years from UCR reports for Minnesota cities.  Still, data that is available is fairly clear:

City 1992 violent crime rate 2004 violent crime rate 1992-2004 Change % Change in Rate % Residents of Somali descent Population
St. Cloud 274.1 427 152.9 55.8% 1.40% 65996
Rochester 190.5 247.7 57.2 30.0% 1.90% 108179
Bloomington 184.4 199.4 15 8.1% 1.40% 84451
Maple Grove 100.8 104.1 3.3 3.3% 0% 63065
St. Paul 939.5 851.8 -87.7 -9.3% 1.90% 288802
Coon Rapids 206.5 178.3 -28.2 -13.7% 0.20% 61782
Blaine 162.9 139.7 -23.2 -14.2% 0.20% 58358
Woodbury 77.8 66.2 -11.6 -14.9% 0% 63352
Brooklyn Park 507.5 406.8 -100.7 -19.8% 0.20% 76781
Burnsville 165.7 131 -34.7 -20.9% 2.30% 60838
Minneapolis  1642.8 1256.1 -386.7 -23.5% 3.30% 389112
Eagan City 144.2 110 -34.2 -23.7% 0.60% 64691
Duluth City 413.5 307.7 -105.8 -25.6% 0.02% 86234
Plymouth 149.7 88.9 -60.8 -40.6% 0.10% 71852
Eden Prairie 149.1 88.4 -60.7 -40.7% 2.70% 61516
Minnetonka 96.9 56.7 -40.2 -41.5% 1.20% 50523
Lakeville 145.4 60.2 -85.2 -58.6% 0% 56758


For property crime, the full 1992-2012 change is available:

City 1992 property crime rate 2012 property crime rate 1992-2012 Change % Change in Rate % Residents of Somali descent Population
Duluth City 5504.8 4446.6 -1058.2 -19.2% 0.02% 86234
Bloomington 4991.8 3796.9 -1194.9 -23.9% 1.40% 84451
Maple Grove 2826.3 2036.9 -789.4 -27.9% 0% 63065
Brooklyn Park 4867.3 3399 -1468.3 -30.2% 0.20% 76781
Coon Rapids 4872.1 3077 -1795.1 -36.8% 0.20% 61782
Eagan City 3794.4 2341.2 -1453.2 -38.3% 0.60% 64691
St. Paul 6736.6 4091.2 -2645.4 -39.3% 1.90% 288802
St. Cloud 5626.3 3374.2 -2252.1 -40.0% 1.40% 65996
Woodbury 3872.3 2291.5 -1580.8 -40.8% 0% 63352
Burnsville 5055.5 2956.6 -2098.9 -41.5% 2.30% 60838
Blaine 6006.2 3316.5 -2689.7 -44.8% 0.20% 58358
Rochester 4653.4 2505.9 -2147.5 -46.1% 1.90% 108179
Minneapolis  9460.6 4960.8 -4499.8 -47.6% 3.30% 389112
Plymouth 3494.6 1663.4 -1831.2 -52.4% 0.10% 71852
Minnetonka 3511.1 1647 -1864.1 -53.1% 1.20% 50523
Eden Prairie 3602.2 1551.9 -2050.3 -56.9% 2.70% 61516
Lakeville 3933.4 1330.9 -2602.5 -66.2% 0% 56758

As you can see, in terms of violent crime and property crime the city of Minneapolis is actually fairly typical.  Some cities actually saw a rise in their violent crime rates — but not Minneapolis.  Only a few, not most, of Minnesota cities experienced sharper declines in property or violent crime rates than Minneapolis.  Minneapolis ends up looking pretty good in comparison to many of its neighbors. Comparing Minneapolis to its sister cities in Minnesota, it does not appear that Minnesota has had a comparatively shallower decline in its crime rate.  The arrival of Somalis did not have the criminalizing effect on the city that critics of Somali immigration claim.

As the tables above reveal, the presence of residents of Somali descent is not limited to Minneapolis.  Is the share of a city’s residents who are Somali related to the crime rate?  Scatterplots graphing % Somali in a Minnesota city against % change in crime rate for the city doesn’t show support for the positive relationship suggested by anti-Somali critics:

Scatterplot of Change in Property Crime Rate from 1992 to 2012 compared to the Change in the property crime rate in the same period for large Minnesota cities Scatterplot of Change in Property Crime Rate from 1992 to 2004 compared to the Change in the violent crime rate in the same period for large Minnesota cities


And in case you’re wondering, multivariate regression analysis, whether controlling for city size or not, fails to show a statistically significant of effect of a city’s share of Somali immigrants on its change in the crime rate since Somali immigrants started coming to Minnesota.

In short, it’s simply not true that Minneapolis and other cities with significant Somali populations experienced more crime (or a lower drop in crime) after Somali immigrants began to arrive.  It’s just not true.

42 thoughts on “After Somali Immigrants arrived in Minneapolis, did Crime change differently than in other Minnesota Cities? (Fact Check)”

  1. Steve Platy says:

    Wow. I don’t know where to start. There are plenty of violent crime statistics available post-2004. Why not include them but redact any rape statistics as possibly unreliable?

    What you would find is that Minneapolis did indeed, still experience a moderate drop in crime between 200 and 2012.

    But that is only half-relevant to this article because they primary Somali refugee community is in St Cloud. Even at the time covered in your statistics, it’s common knowledge that more than 1.4% of the population was Somali then. However, as acknowledged by Somali community activists/advocates, they believe the area has over 20,000 now, and they call that a conservative estimate, and it is growing at a rate faster than the advocates/assistants can handle. Like your other article, the figures only say so much and you don’t even use figures that count anything from the last decade while the true demographics are rapidly changing. Do you not see a lack of journalistic integrity with that?

    Please look at today, not 11 years ago. And look at the correct city.

    If you did, you’d see that crime in St Cloud, host of “Little Mogadishu,” has more than doubled in almost all categories, the sharp increase starting in 2001. Now be a good investigator and look for the correlation between what happened in 2001 in St Cloud, and draw a logical conclusion that’s not based on the narrative that you are premeditatedly hoping to see.

    This is a blatant and scary abuse of information.

    1. H Munster says:

      cbs news , not stormfront. And now in 2017, somali crime is even worse. Somalians are scum.

  2. Jim Cook says:

    Fact: Minneapolis is the home to the largest Somali population in the United States, not St. Cloud. See also here: . And I’m not a journalist.

  3. Jim Cook says:

    But fine, if you actually want to look at real violent crime rate and property crime rate data for St. Cloud, even though Minneapolis is actually more relevant, we can do so now that 2013 crime stats have been released. For the first time in years, St. Cloud’s violent crime rate can be calculated again. Guess what? The claim that crime rates in St. Cloud have “more than doubled” is inaccurate: .

  4. jim says:

    Even though the crime statistics might be lower, who is to say policing has not improved? I mean, technology has improved greatly since 1992, and police are heavily dependent on technology. The point is, we already have our own citizens who cause problems, so what’s the point in letting refugees in who do the same? How do you even screen refugees as criminals? You can’t even screen them for their real name.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Thanks for writing, jim. For your first question, that’s why this article looks at different cities across Minnesota, to account for general secular trends in policing or other matters. Your second question assumes that refugees are especially likely to “cause problems” related to crime.

    2. Whisper black Angel says:

      Jim are u. Ojibwe?

  5. Escape from MPLS says:

    I lived in Minneapolis in the middle 2000s and went to the University of Minnesota. Just on the edge of campus is the Cedar Riverside neighborhood aka “Little Somalia.” Many students had to commute through there. When I was there, the campus Police Blotter and crime alerts by email reported frequent assault/mugging/rape against students which seemed to occur almost every day. The attacks took place during all hours and usually on campus or just on the edge of campus in the direction of the Somali Towers (those mildewed pastel tower blocks). The suspects were ALWAYS described as Somali. One evening I was attacked by Somalis (Somali nationality has a unique appearance) while riding my bike along the bike path that went near there on West Bank edge of campus. They threw rocks and chased me, but I was lucky enough to get away. Since then, I have read that the Star Tribune and the campus news crime reports have been forbidden to report ethnicity of the attackers so I don’t know what statistics are available when broken down by immigration status or ethnicity.

    Anyway, these were NOT good neighbors, and the experience showed me that nothing good will come from bringing in and packing into a small area roughly 100,000 quasi-Stone Age tribesmen who have seen nothing but war, crime, and violence their entire lives in their homeland.

    1. Escape from MPLS says:

      Sorry to double post, but I don’t see how to edit my previous post. To me, it looks like there was an attempt to cover up Somali-on-native crime. If true, the available crime stats cannot be trusted. Also, the nature of the crime is random violence like in my case Somalis throwing rocks and friends of mine being punched or assaulted by Somalis. Much/most of this does not even get reported. I did not report my attack to the police. 100,000 Somalis in the Cedar Riverside/seward/phillips/? areas of mpls is probably a slight exaggeration, but it numbers in teh 10s of 1000s.

      Finally, since you spend so much energy defending their reputation, I encourage you to know them the way I and many other students and working poor have known them. That is, try being poor in MPLS and renting the only apartment you can afford near campus. It will most likely be in the above neighborhood. Then, commute by walking. Walk home late at night every nigth because you work late, and then you will see another side of the Somali people. You will see roaming gangs. You will see fights. You will see natives being attacked. YOU will be attacked.

      1. J Clifford says:

        Well, maybe there’s an attempt to cover up native-on-Somali crime. I don’t know that there is, but as long as we’re going to make wild assertions without evidence, why don’t we just have a free-for-all?

        To me, it looks like there was an attempt to cover up crime by people who moved to Minneapolis from New Jersey. We all KNOW what those people from New Jersey are like.

        If it’s true that this cover up of crime by migrant people from New Jersey is true, then we can’t trust available criminal statistics. Therefore, I will make assertions of what crime by people from New Jersey is, as if my personal experience explains what’s actually happening to everybody in the whole city.

        Some guys who had just moved from New Jersey walked up and gave me and my friends some wedgies. It hurt! I did not report my attack to police, and I don’t have any available information to back up my assertion, but I will tell you that, with tens of thousands of immigrants from New Jersy in Minneapolis, I estimate that there is a daily wedgie attack rate of at least 50,000.

        YOU will get a wedgie! I just know. You will see roaming wedgie gangs.

        Any statistics showing a lack of tens of thousands of wedgie attacks in Minneapolis every day is merely due to a cover-up. That’s the only logical explanation.

        1. Escape from MPLS says:

          Typical response. Just insult and ridicule people for having opinions and experiences you don’t agree with.

          1. J Clifford says:

            No, I’m ridiculing your expectation that you can come on here and discount all available facts, and make up a bunch of assertions without evidence, that actually are contradicted by the available evidence, and expect to be taken seriously.

            Seriously, what did you expect?

            If the typical response you’re getting when you ignore the facts and make up conspiracy theories about cover-ups, why don’t you consider a different approach… such as paying attention to the available evidence, even when it doesn’t fit with your preferred bigotry?

    2. Uncle Rufus says:

      Escape from MPLS is 100% correct. I lived in Minnapolis from 2012 – 2014 and what he describes in the Cedar Riverside area is reality. If you are poor in Minneapolis you will be living in a Somali neighborhood and it is not safe.

      I talked to Minneapolis natives who experienced the change in their city. No one but the farthest left ideologue will tell you that the Somalians have done anything but lay waste to that city.

      Liberal whites will bend over backwards to defend the importation of assault, rape, murder, drugs, and turn a blind eye to the immigrant’s absolute refusal to assimilate with the Minneapolis culture. Absolutely disgusting the mental gymnastics these people will go through to rationalize the destruction of their society.

      Anyone who’s lived in the Cedar Riverside area for the last 20 years has seen their neighborhood turn to a nightmare, they can no longer walk safely down the street at night, the American stores are being replaced by Somalian ones that stink up the whole area, and for the most part everyone with common sense is leaving FAST, abandoning a once vibrant and historically significant part of Minneapolis as a total loss.

      Maybe the author of this blog should go hang out around the “Crack Stacks” (aka Riverside Plaza) from midnight to 3am and see if it changes his tune!

      1. Jim Cook says:

        This is certainly your perception. How interesting that police reports for Little Mogadishu don’t support your perception:

      2. J Clifford says:

        I’m going to go to Little Mogadishu tonight at midnight, actually, just to check out your story. I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow.

    3. shel says:

      Somalis kill Christian in East Africa and they are very lazy therefor crime and harassment is a way of life. There is nothing good I can see in allowing them to stay in the US. They eventually will become totally radicalized and force us to submit to Islam.

      1. Jim Cook says:

        You’re just saying this. You have no facts, no documentation.

      2. J Clifford says:

        Shel, what you’ve written here is mythology.

        You don’t actually have any facts to support your assertions here, especially when it comes to your predictions of the future.

        Where Somali refugees have come to live, they have not forced anyone to submit to Islam. They have not become totally radicalized.

        What I worry about is the radicalization of young Christian Trump supporters.

    4. Shizue Hicks says:

      Thank you MPLS. I am in Marin County just north of San Francisco. We outsiders need first-hand accounts of experiences with new arrivals to the US.

      How is it tour government thinks the can just plant scores of “refugees” in Minnesota, pass out welfare checks and food stamps and bid them a quick “Welcome to America” without any expectation of having them work or at least act civilly in their new communities?

      Syrians in Michigan and Somalis in Minnesota and Tennessee. Refugee “dump sites.”

      1. J Clifford says:

        Of course, Shizue, you’re ignoring the documented fact that immigrants, including refugees, commit less crime in the United States than native-born Americans do.

        So, why aren’t you upset at Americans?

        Does the answer rhyme with schmacism or schmeenophobia?

  6. Escape from MPLS says:

    What kind of journalist are you? You resort to childish name-calling because I disagree with your article. I don’t buy your stats and you call me a bigot. I saw Somali crime for myself. That’s not bigotry. I am an eyewitness to some of the crime and gang activity in that neighborhood. I read campus police report email alerts about Somali attacks on UMN students several times a week for the years I was there. The crime stats your article cites do not break it down by neighborhood.

  7. Escape from MPLS says:

    If you broke it down by neighborhood, you would have high-crime zone concentrated around the Cedar Riverside neighborhood. Before the Somalis arrived in such massive numbers, that was a peaceful student and working class area. Now it is a high crime area.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      No, see page 3. The “Little Mogadishu” neighborhood in Minneapolis is not a crime hot spot.

  8. Leroy says:

    As Daniel Patrick Moynihan said (in a certain discussion with an unreasonable and illogical fellow diplomat), “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to your own facts.”

  9. george says:

    Interesting how liberals refuse to live in immigrant areas yet profess to be experts on immigrant habits and behavior.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      I actually have lived in “immigrant areas” multiple times in my life.

    2. J Clifford says:

      Who’s refusing to live in immigrant areas? Not me.

    3. Shizue Hicks says:

      You are so right. And a Minnesota, Michigan and Tennessee are the new dump sites with very little mainstream news attention paid to the chaos created by those migrants on those states.

      Notice how California — my state — has avoided getting dumped on? Too many rich people, movie stars and Nancy Pelosi, I guess.

  10. Roy Borrrill says:

    Maybe crime has not increased but Somali enjoy raping more than stealing. Hence the reason you can’t chart violent rapes after 2004. They changed the criteria because they don’t want you to be able to chart it.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      In your mind.

  11. Shire says:

    Sadly i believe that most these deluded commentators truly believe that Somalis are coming to “rape our women,” which is a sad way to live your life and honestly pathetic.

    This is a very old tactic used by racists to justify their completely one-sided and unjustified ignorant hatred for black/ brown people. I read an article recently called, “The History Of Using White Female Sexuality To Justify Racist Violence” and the comments from both Roy and Steve clearly demonstrate this mindset.

    “In the late 1800s, the idea that black men were innately driven to rape white women was often used to justify the lynching of black men.”

    “I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.” — These are the words the Charleston shooter 2015

    1. Ron W says:

      Doing ancient history and Dylan Roof is not a way to refute the assertion that the desired data for review is not reviewable of a Sunni Muslim population that is cult like. Jim Cook is a joke. He lacks the data to support his assertion yet ridicules those who bring contradictory ancedotal perspectives.

  12. Dan Olson says:

    You mean right wing sites like USA TODAY ?:

    As Somali gangs evolve, so does enforcement

    The girl was 12 when the gangsters told her the rule: They would sell her for sex to men outside the gang, but members of the Somali Outlaws or the Somali Mafia would use her for free.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Cases < Trends.

  13. walter campbell says:

    St paul police are are some of the most incompetant sons of bitchs ever to wear police uniforms, there are guns being sold large scale right under the nose of the police , in fact less than half a mile from the police precinct on university ave, and most of the buyers are somalis, I KNOW THIS FOR A FACT.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Then surely you can document it.

  14. Mel says:

    In Fort Morgan, Colorado, per capita rape has increased 80% since Somali and Mexicans “refugees” were placed there since 2009.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Mel, I just checked crime statistics for Fort Morgan, Colorado.

      It didn’t.

      Thank you so much for the opportunity to fact check bigotry yet again. Look for an entire Irregular Times article on this subject. to appear later today. The article will contain extensive documentation with links to sources.

  15. Ilya murometz says:

    Jim Cook or Jim Cuked? Either way an idiot libturd!

    1. Horatio says:

      Wow, Ilya.

      That’s the best you can do?

      Against the facts, you come up with “idiot libturd”.

      I guess that illustrates the degree of intellectual power in right wing racism these days.

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