Poll: Minnesota voters think crime is on the rise, but feel safe closer to home – Albert Lea Tribune

Poll: Minnesota voters think crime is on the rise, but feel safe closer to home

Published at 6:10 am Thursday Sep 22, 2022

Written by Dana Ferguson, Minnesota Public Radio News

Most Minnesota residents believe that crime in their communities has increased in recent years, according to the latest MPR News/Star Tribune/KARE 11 poll.

In all, 54 percent said they believed crime had increased, while 45 percent said it had stayed the same. Another 1% said they refused.

But despite this marked increase in crime, 83 percent said they were not afraid of being attacked or threatened in their area. That’s compared to about 17 percent of those who said they were concerned about threats or attacks close to their homes.

The results came from a survey of 800 registered voters conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling between September 12-14. The survey has a plus or minus 3.5 percentage point margin of error.

The same poll found that crime was the second most important issue for voters in Minnesota as the November elections approach, after the economy and jobs. But the importance of the case, as well as the concept of crime in Minnesota, collapsed differently on political grounds.

A higher proportion of Republican voters said they believed crime was increasing in their communities. Sixty-four percent of GOP voters said crime had increased, compared to 54 percent of Independents and 44 percent of Democrats.

Anita Gibson, a retired teacher, said she has become concerned about recent school shootings near her home in Richfield and at the Mall of America. She was looking for candidates in the upcoming elections who would vote to address gun violence.

“I think the answer is we need more cops on the streets, maybe more community involvement? I don’t know. I don’t know what the answer is,” Gibson said. “But something is wrong. There is something very wrong when people think they can do whatever they want. And to settle the dispute, they have a gun in their back pocket, and they take it out and shoot people.”

Voters also reported varying levels of anxiety about being threatened or attacked in their area depending on their race, ethnicity, and where they live.

Twenty-six percent of Hennepin and Ramsey counties said they were concerned about exposure to crime near their homes, while 15 percent in northern Minnesota, 11 percent in outer suburbs and 10 percent in southern Minnesota reported such anxiety.

People of color and Native Minnesota also reported higher levels of concern about threats and harassment. 27 percent of non-white respondents expressed concerns about their safety, compared to 15 percent of white voters surveyed.

Terry Kirby, a retiree from Bloomington, said she’s noticed a slight rise in crime recently in her area, particularly in car thefts. And while she always tries to be on the alert, she has been very careful about potential threats when in public.

“I mean, it’s not like every time I walk out the door, my life is in danger. I know a lot of that has to do with how much it shows up in the news,” Kirby said. You know, the more it was reported, even if it was isolated events here and there, the more they reported, it seemed like it was all over the place, right? ”

Candidates up and down the ballot cited crime as a top priority. They have targeted opponents for attitudes they perceive to be too lenient.

Jeff Potts, executive director of the Minnesota Police Chiefs Association, said elected officials and candidates should be clear about what they will do to help address concerns about crime.

“If people don’t feel safe driving their own streets, if they don’t feel safe going to the local park or hanging out in the front yard for that matter, I think that should be something that people who are interested in getting elected start talking about,” Potts said. “Maybe it has become one of the biggest problems people have been facing in Minnesota lately.”

Police groups asked lawmakers for additional funding to help tackle violent crime across the state earlier this year. But they came up with nothing after lawmakers in the divided House and Senate failed to reach a compromise.

Potts said his group continues to urge lawmakers to approve additional funding next year or in a special legislative session.

“We can’t have another session where, because we can’t come to an agreement on everything, nothing is done. We have to be willing to compromise. This is a real issue,” Potts said. “It affects families, unfortunately, all over the world. the state. And there is definitely more we can do.”

MPR News reporter Brian Bakst contributed to this report.

For additional results from September MPR News/Star Tribune/KARE 11 Minnesota Poll, including notes on methodology and sample characteristics, visit APM Research Lab Methodology page here.

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