Reported crimes on the rise in Roseville since 2010


courtesy of City of Roseville • A breakdown of Part 1 crimes as reported in Roseville from 2010 to June of 2018. As noted by Police Chief Rick Mathwig at the Aug. 13 Roseville City Council meeting, the overall number of crimes reported in the city has increased since 2010. The crimes are categorized as “Part 1” for FBI crime data collection purposes.

The number of crimes reported in Roseville has steadily increased since 2010.

That’s according to Police Chief Rick Mathwig, who presented a report on crime trends during the Roseville City Council’s Aug. 13 meeting.

In all, Mathwig said, reported crime has risen by 28 percent since the beginning of the decade, though he hedged that fact by pointing out that Roseville is about as unique a city as one will find in the metro.

He reminded council members that some 65 languages are spoken in the homes of Roseville students and that some 50,000 people come and work in the city each day. Rosedale Center and the city’s hotels are also major draws to the city of roughly 35,000 residents.

“Roseville has developed from within to become a very complex city,” Mathwig said. “[There are] a lot of financial institutions, a lot of retail, a lot of hotels that have really added to the value of Roseville. It’s also added to a more complex Roseville — that’s just where we’re at.”

Mathwig also returned from time to time to a law enforcement truism, with which he opened his report: “You cannot arrest yourself out of crime.”

Though crime information was only available through June of this year, at the time of the report, Mathwig said crime reporting has trended downwards for 2018, compared to 2017.

An eight-year increase in aggravated assaults is concerning, Mathwig said, pointing out that such crimes typically occur between people who know each other, and can sometimes occur at the city’s hotels.

Another upward trend is seen in the number of burglaries and thefts, though there are simple measures residents can take that can prevent such crimes.

“A fair amount of burglaries and thefts from auto could be avoided if people locked their doors,” Mathwig said, noting that a recent spate of stolen cars and other losses in southeast Roseville all came down to opportunistic thieves finding unlocked doors.

“Roseville’s a nice place,” Mathwig said. “Some people tend to forget they have to have their head on a swivel and lock their doors and look around.”

 

Neighborhood support

Though there could be fewer reported crimes in Roseville in 2018 compared to last year, Mayor Dan Roe pointed out that such data is little consolation to someone whose house was burglarized or who had items stolen from their car.

“You can look at aggregate numbers for the whole community, but actually, if you’ve never been a victim of a crime and then you become a victim of a crime,” he said, “[the rate’s] gone up a billion percent.”

Roe’s point was borne out by two women who spoke before the council. 

Both were longtime residents of a neighborhood off Cottontail Park near Lake Josephine, and said a recent string of crimes in their neighborhood — two stolen cars and a burglarized home — had them rattled. 

“It’s been a nice quiet neighborhood for 37 years, now we’re kind of living in fear,” said one of the women.

Council members said one way to prevent crime on a neighborhood level is for neighbors to support each other.

Council member Jason Etten, who lives in southeast Roseville, said he helped put together a neighborhood meeting that ended up being standing room only.

“We actually went door to door with notices and we had a ton of people come out.” he said, noting the effectiveness of face-to-face contact.

Council member Tammy McGehee recounted how two decades ago a number of homes in her neighborhood, including her own, were burglarized, and how it catalyzed her and her neighbors into working together on crime prevention, with lasting effect.

Roe concurred, saying, “It’s one thing to remember to lock your doors and close the garage door — but we all forget to do those things — and I think the notion of our neighbors all looking out for each other ... is really important.”

 

More officers?

Asked by Roe about possible changes or requests for resources, Mathwig said he continues to want funding for a full-time mental health liaison officer, something for which he’s asked the past several years that hasn’t made it into the final city budget.

“That request won’t be going away,” said Mathwig, noting it’s his No. 1 priority.

Pointing out that calls about people having mental health crises have skyrocketed over the last 10 years, Mathwig said a mental health liaison officer would work with families and individuals on a day-to-day basis to make sure that those who need help find it.

Though Ramsey County has an effective mental health mobile crisis unit, Mathwig said it only has 11 staffers who work countywide, and they don’t follow-up on cases. A full-time, Roseville-only mental health liaison officer would be able to provide followups while also freeing up other officers’ time.

Mathwig promised a 2020 budget request for several more officers in an attempt “to try and move the needle.”

“Like I said, you can’t arrest your way out, but solving one crime for one person does help,” he said. “Preventing several crimes in Roseville, over time, adds value to the city.”

In the absence of a mental health liaison officer, Mathwig said all 48 members of the police department have had 40 hours of crisis intervention team training, at a total cost of $54,000. He said the training has taught officers to handle crisis situations more slowly, “something that’s not ingrained in being a police officer.”

As for his promised request for more officers, Mathwig said a single officer costs around $90,000 per year, salary and benefits included, and multiple officers, other costs included, such as additional squad cars, would likely cost many hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.

 

– Mike Munzenrider can be reached at mmunzenrider@lillienews.com or 651-748-7813

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