ST. CLOUD -- Despite the spike in crime in St. Cloud last year, the overall trend continues to go down. That was the message the Police Chief Blair Anderson and Assistant Chief Jeff Oxton gave during a presentation to the City Council Monday night.

They say Part 1 crimes, which are things like murder, rape, robbery, and arson have been trending downward over the past 30 years.

The biggest increases in Part 1 crimes in 2020 were thefts which were up by 500, motor vehicles thefts up by 63, and burglaries up by 55.

Part 1 Crimes in St. Cloud:
2016 - 3085
2017 - 3062
2018 - 2859
2019 - 2790
2020 - 3319

Oxton says if you take the previous four-year average and compare it to this year (Jan. 1st to Sept. 30th for an apples-to-apples comparison), crime stats are improving again.

Assaults are down right now, burglaries are down, this is a good one thefts -- remember that's what jacked that Part 1 crime rate for last year -- it's actually down 181 right now as of September 30th.  Motor vehicle thefts are high that's one thing we continue to see.

Oxton does note that the four homicides we have had this year match the previous high mark set back in 2015.

Oxton says another area of concern they continue to see this year is gun violence.

An area where we continue to see increases, and we're not immune to this stuff going on, is gun violence.  It's something that we hear about all over the state and the country and we've seen that here as well.  Gunshot calls plus 16 and a person with a gun is plus 24.  So, that's significant to us.  We are seeing more guns in hands of those who are not supposed to have guns.

Oxton says they are also concerned about the rise in the use of dangerous drugs. There were eight overdose deaths in the city last year.

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When it comes to Part 2 crimes which are things like vandalism, forgery, and fraud that 30-year trend is also going down. And, in 2020 Part 2 crimes were actually down 236 from 2019.

So far this year, the St. Cloud Police Department has had about 43,000 calls for service including about 6,000 traffic stops.

The data comes from the Uniform Crime Reports from the FBI and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Chief Anderson says he wanted the presentation to help 'debunk, defuse, and eliminate the rumor mill because the numbers are factual".

Anderson talked about the COP House and the impact it is having on the city's south side saying "it is exceeding our wildest expectations".

St. Cloud's city budget for 2022 calls for hiring four additional four full-time officers,  Also, earlier this year the city received a grant to hire a full-time investigator to work on bringing down the number of vehicle thefts.

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