County ranks 14th in state for total arrestsPublished 10:53am Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Mower County is number 14 in total arrests among Minnesota counties.
That’s what County Attorney Kristen Nelsen told the Mower County board during its Tuesday meeting, and the high number of arrests aren’t likely going away.
What’s more, the county attorney’s office appears to have a higher amount of cases to deal with compared to nearby counties.
There were 2,267 arrests in Mower County in 2012, with 1,740 arrests done by the Austin Police Department, according to a recent report by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehensions.
That makes Austin, with about 25,000 residents, the 14th highest city in total arrests behind larger cities in greater Minnesota like Rochester, St. Cloud and Mankato, and large metro cities such as Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis and St. Paul.
“As straight-up numbers, we’re way up there,” Nelsen said.
What’s more, the county attorney’s office appears to have a higher amount of cases to deal with compared to nearby counties. There were 1,265 arrests in Freeborn County last year, with 921 in Albert Lea, with four attorneys at the Freeborn County Attorney’s office. Mower County has five county attorneys.
Though the county doesn’t seek charges for all arrests, Nelsen expressed concern with the level of serious crime in the area, including an incident last weekend where someone may have fired rounds from an assault rifle near Mill Pond.
“This is not Mayberry,” Nelsen said. “These aren’t tiny arrests for knick-knacky stuff.”
Nelsen also said Mower County officials are seeing more cases of guardians financially exploiting senior citizens by spending their money for personal gain.
City and county officials have raised concerns about Austin’s crime rate over the past few months. Austin Police Chief Brian Krueger persuaded the Austin City Council to add another police officer next year in order to keep up with the high number of calls and arrests, which Krueger said has been consistent in Austin for more than 10 years. While Nelsen isn’t seeking more staff, she said she wanted to make the board aware how much her department is doing with so little staff.