Monday, February 18, 2008 By Aaron Brown
Of 786 charged felonies in Duluth in 2007, the News Tribune was able to track the driver’s license addresses for 720 of the suspects. Of those, 639 — or 89 percent — listed Northland cities and towns as their primary address. Only 54
-- 7.5 percent — had licenses from out of state.
So why do some people say that the crime problem in Duluth is caused by “other people’’ who come here from somewhere else?
Fred Friedman heads the Northeastern Minnesota public defender’s office and provides attorneys to people charged with crimes who can’t afford to pay for an attorney. He didn’t hesitate to respond when asked why there is a perception that outsiders bring so much crime to Duluth.
“Race,’’ he said. “When TV or the newspaper shows a picture of a white person who is a suspect, nobody remembers it. When they show a picture of a black person who is a suspect, people remember it. The perception is not about people coming from other cities; it’s about race.’’
Friedman acknowledges that more of his clients than he would like commit violent crimes shortly after arriving here, but he said it isn’t a high percentage, and that perception is more a myth than a reality.