A Minnesota Public Radio report this week provides a unique look at crime in the city of Rochester. Despite falling crime rates over the last several years, the perception of the city as a dangerous place has grown. In a scene that could be nearly any city in this country, people are frightened of the potential criminality of others even when that criminality doesn’t materialize.
Community groups have been formed and people lock their doors tighter than ever before, due in part at least to the misrepresentation of how things really are by the local media.
But not everyone is blind to how their perceptions may be flawed, “Sometimes I think I have a very big gap between reality and my perception. I perceive a greater danger than there probably really is” says one resident. And he is not alone, many people have grown distrustful of their fellow citizens and even neighbors, fearful they might be a criminal.
Rochester has grown significantly in the last decade, by 21% since 2000. In addition, the city has become much more diverse. Many of the newcomers to the city are racial minorities and immigrants.
Honestly speaking, the Chief of Police states “When people see that those people charged or arrested are frequently people of color, they begin to associate minorities with crime.” He sees growth and race playing a significant role in the unwarranted fear of crime.
Rochester is a relatively safe city, “consistently ranked among the best places to live” in the country. But for the people who live there it’s seen as a dangerous hotbed of crime. The murder rate is low, with only one or two killings per year. But the violent crime that does happen is thrust into the spotlight by local media.
Perhaps it’s because violence and crime make for interesting news that local stations take this route. It’s not unique to the Rochester area; it’s this way across the country. People are convinced every person they encounter is a potential criminal and even a friendly “hello” is often met with an eye of suspicion.
It can be difficult to get a fair shake in a society like this, where everyone is convinced crime is more rampant than it really is. If you are actually facing criminal charges, you can feel particularly targeted. You have become part of the problem.
Facing criminal charges is no walk in the park no matter how serious or minor they are. Having an experienced defense attorney on your side does, however, take some of the pressure off. If you are facing charges, contact our attorneys today for a free consultation.