Mower County Ranked High for Arrests in Minnesota

Posted at: 08/15/2013 6:57 PM
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- They’re crime statistics that might surprise you.

The state is out with new county-by-county arrest numbers.

And some of the highest numbers come from right here.

"Are we substantially different than other communities? I don't think so, but we're busy," said Mower County Attorney Kristen Nelsen.

New numbers from the state show just how busy. They show that ... per capita ... Mower county has one of the highest arrest rates in the state.

The public safety department calculates the rate based on a population of 100,000 people. In that case, Mower county's rate of 12,013 is third highest in the state.

By comparison, Olmsted county's arrest rate is 5,126.

Cass and Beltrami counties were highest in the state, and Fillmore county was second-lowest.

So why is Mower county's rate so high?

"I can't tell you that. If I could tell you that we could do something that would instantly fix it,” county attorney Kristen Nelsen told us.

Part of the answer could be in pro-active enforcement ... officers running crack-downs that lead to other things.

"A speeding stop can lead to something else being found in the car or something else that leads to an arrest," said chief Mower County sheriff’s deputy Mark May.

But Mower county's arrest numbers remain high across the board.

"A lot of those are report-type crimes. property damage, assault, which are not really things we drive as an agency," Austin police captain Dave McKichan said.

“The numbers have not changed dramatically in the last few years. So is it all of a sudden are our numbers worse than they were last year? No, they were similarly bad last year,"  Kristen Nelsen added.

And while law enforcement can't fully explain why the numbers are as high as they are, they say Mower county is still a safe place to be.

"I grew up here and I love it here,” Kristen Nelsen told us. “And it's still the place I want to be."