Northeast Minneapolis’ first homicide of 2008?

According to the Star Tribune, police have classified a 58-year-old Minneapolis man’s death Monday morning as a homicide.

Sad, tragic — and remarkable, in two ways.

First, city homicide numbers are down steeply. This year, through September (the last month available), there have been 29 murders. Two years ago, same period — 46, according to police crime stats.

But there’s one fact that makes this killing literally singular. The address is the 3500 block of Lincoln Street Northeast. If the homicide designation holds, it will be the first murder in Northeast Minneapolis all year.

I’m using the Star Tribune’s excellent InfoCenter for corroboration. Here’s what it looked like before today’s suspected killing:

All those H’s marching from top left (north Minneapolis) to bottom right (downtown) are homicides. The vast, empty area on the right-hand side is Northeast.

Now, careful crime-watchers know the city has two relatively murderous sections — north and near south. Southwest and northeast Minneapolis are often clear, though there was a double homicide in southwest in June.

Still, northeast’s ten-month killing-free run shows just what how stark a checkerboard the city is when it comes to this particular capital crime.

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