Breakdown of law enforcement’s annual 2022 crime report shows violent crime on the rise

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(ABC 6 News) – Newly released annual crime data from Olmsted and Freeborn County shows that while overall crime is decreasing, violent crime is on the rise.

The 2022 crime report details crimes ranging from drugs and sex assaults to theft and physical violence.

In Olmsted County, the number of assaults spiked from 43% from 2021 to 2022. The number of people in possession of weapons increased 27%. Sex offenses, including rape, decreased 17%.

The Albert Lea Police Department reports a similar trend happening in its jurisdiction. Assault cases increased 65% from 2021 to 2022. Sexual offenses, including rape, rose 20% and weapon possessions skyrocketed about 138%.

In Freeborn County, outside of Albert Lea, sexual offenses increased 20% while assaults increased 65%.

It may seem shocking, but law enforcement officials say the violent spike started three years ago.

“People being quarantined in their homes for such a long period of time, we started to lose our social values, coupled with tougher economic times for people,” Freeborn County Sheriff Ryan Shea explained.

Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson agreed, attributing the spike to a change in human behavior.

“People are much quicker to go to either a threat of violence, or a show of violence, or actually hurt someone,” he added.

Both sheriffs say another big factor in the violence is that people are struggling with their mental health.

“Guys are asking for our case workers to come and help them out at a scene, so that’s not subsiding,” Sheriff Torgerson said.

While crimes are more violent than ever, the overall rate of crime is dropping.

In Olmsted County, the total number of crimes dropped 7% from 2021 to 2022.

ALPD reports that its total number of crime also decreased 7%.

In Freeborn County, crime decreased about 29%.

“We just don’t have a crystal ball, we can’t be sure we can predict some things maybe,” Sheriff Torgerson said. “But we just can’t always be everywhere and that’s a challenge.”

More information on the reports are below.

Larceny/ theft, including motor vehicles, decreased 13% in Olmsted County. Fraud increased about 5%.

In Freeborn County, fraud increased 19%. Larceny/theft including motor vehicles decreased about 53% and weapon possessions decreased 63%. Vandalism also decreased 35% but DUI reports increased 20%.

The Rochester Police Department is expected to release its annual 2022 crime report this week.