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Editorial: Crime statistics tell an encouraging story

In the past two weeks there has been some good news from the Dakota County Attorney's office about one aspect of the quality of life in Rosemount.

Last week, the county attorney's office released its annual report on adult felony prosecutions in Dakota County. This week the office released similar statistics for juvenile prosecutions. In both cases, the numbers were down from the previous year.

That is worth noting in a county where the population continues to grow, though perhaps not as fast as it once did. Dakota County has more residents now than it ever has -- more people to come into contact with one another, to potentially say the wrong thing at the wrong time -- and yet criminal prosecutions -- particularly for some of the most serious crimes -- are down.

There is at least one notable exception of course. Rosemount recorded the second murder in its history last year when a confrontation at a car wash escalated to a tragic degree. But that was a random event. It could have happened anywhere.

It is also noteworthy that this decline in prosecutions comes during difficult economic times, when an growing number of Dakota County residents are struggling to get by.

The numbers in Rosemount tell a similar story. The number of felony prosecutions of adults fell slightly from 51 in 2009 to 47 last year in the city. Drug offenses were the most common, with 21 charges.

The number of prosecutions of juveniles fell by more than 40 percent, from 125 to 75. There were just seven prosecutions of juveniles for felony-level offenses.

Rosemount will continue to grow and change in the years ahead. When the housing market picks up, Rosemount will have the advantage of being one of the few cities on the area with significant amounts of buildable land. A project like the proposed UMore development will dramatically alter the makeup of the city.

Crime will likely go up as the population grows. But for now we are encouraged by what we see. The numbers speak well of Rosemount and of its residents.