Chart of the Day: Minneapolis “Low-Level” Arrests by Race

You might have read about the recent repeal of the “lurking” and “spitting” ordinances by the Minneapolis City Council last week. Well, about a month ago, the ACLU released Picking Up The Piecesa polished and hard-hitting report on Minneapolis’ racial disparities in low-level crimes, of which lurking and spitting are only two. Here’s one of the many well-made charts from the study, which uses Police data from 2014:


arrest chart population

Here’s what the report says:

These disparities become more disconcerting when you take into account the racial makeup of Minneapolis and compare with who was arrested for low-level offenses from January 1, 2012, to September 30, 2014. White people make up 64 percent of the city’s population but only 23 percent of low-level arrests. Black people make up only 19 percent of the city’s population but accounted for 59 percent of the low-level arrests, the majority of which are clustered in predominantly Black neighborhoods in North and South Minneapolis that surround the city center. This disparity contributes to longstanding mistrust between communities of color and the Minneapolis Police Department.


There’s much more detail in the study, including a whole section on how these policing practices affect youth.

Bill Lindeke

About Bill Lindeke

Pronouns: he/him

Bill Lindeke has writing blogging about sidewalks and cities since 2005, ever since he read Jane Jacobs. He is a lecturer in Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota Geography Department, the Cityscape columnist at Minnpost, and has written multiple books on local urban history. He was born in Minneapolis, but has spent most of his time in St Paul. Check out Twitter @BillLindeke or on Facebook.