Violent crimes that include felony, theft and burglary increased last year in Winona, MN according to the latest police statistics. The small increase of the total number of crimes by 40 for a total of 651 may be attributed to people looking to make a fast buck by stealing property and pawning it.
However, this small increase does not compare to 1995 where nearly 1,500 violent crimes were reported. Since then police have been more proactive in their approach by increasing police presence and not just reacting to crimes. The Community Policing Program was developed and created the neighborhood watch groups and Landlord’s Associations. They also created the Winona Downtown Tavern Association that works to reduce drinking, move people out of the downtown area at bar close and reduce violence.
In addition, this extra police work has sent more people to prison for longer periods of time. In 2008, 63 people were sent to state prisons for a total of nearly 247 years. However, these crimes were more violent, such as sexual assault, home invasions and attempted murders.
With the economy down, crime may be increasing. However, it seems that law enforcement may have a handle on the problem.