MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Serious crime dropped in Minneapolis and St. Paul for the second year in a row, according to statistics.
Based on statistics current through Sunday, Minneapolis will report a 1 percent decrease in serious crime in 2001. While homicides increased, auto theft, robbery and rape declined. St. Paul, meanwhile, expects to report a decrease in serious crime of about 8 percent.
However, a declining economy, more gang activity and felons leaving prison -- factors in an expected 2 percent increase in serious crime nationwide -- have trickled down to the Twin Cities, said James Fox, a criminal justice professor at Northeastern University in Boston.
Fox said there is a tendency to cut police budgets and crime prevention programs in times of economic hardship, but that doing so would be a serious mistake.
"Some cities might think when crime is going down that it's OK to cut these things," he said. "I know it takes money. But you can pay for the programs now or pray for the victims later."
In Minneapolis, as June approached, 17 of the 19 homicides that had been reported were attributed mostly to gang activity.
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