St. Paul Safety erodes as gun violence continues

Twenty-three people have been killed in St. Paul so far this year, just one short of its deadliest year in the past decade: 24 for all of 2017.


Image from sanmiguelfamily GoFundMe (

Javier SanMiguel Yanez has to leave behind his Wife, Kayla, and his four children — Javier, Emilia, Isabel and Petra.

By Lara Cayci, St. Paul Academy and Summit School

A man who was found in a rolled over vehicle with a gunshot wound to his head on Oct. 6 in St. Paul’s West Side has been confirmed dead. St. Paul Police confirmed the news Monday and identified the man as Jeriko Boykin Sr., of St. Paul. He was also identified as the father of a child that was injured in the shooting.

Unfortunately, this news isn’t extremely shocking as eight homicides — just over one-third of the city’s killings this year — happened in a span of a month. Twenty-three people have been killed in St. Paul so far this year, just one short of its deadliest year in the past decade; 24 for all of 2017.

So: How safe is St. Paul? On average, has it been demonstrated as a dangerous place to live? According to The Neighboring Scout, the rate of violent crime in the Twin Cities area is lower than the national average, but the property crime rate is slightly higher.

The killings aren’t connected to each other, but they aren’t happening in a vacuum. Some are linked to drugs, gang-related, or tied to past disputes. However, the reasons behind some homicides aren’t so clear. Javier Sanmiguel Yanez’s killing on Sept. 9 was random. Police said the 31-year-old father of four was a good Samaritan who went to check on people after a crash outside his home at Edgerton Street and Case Avenue. The driver who caused the crash is accused of opening fire and killing Yanez. He was having a mental crisis and told the police that he was acting “out of fear for his own safety”.

In the past 20 years, St. Paul homicides peaked at 24 in 2005, decreased in the years that followed, and were back up to 22 in 2017. There were 15 last year. According to these numbers, it’s too soon to say whether the recent homicides indicate a long-term trend or if they’re a spike in the moment. However, it must be noted that reports of crime against people, excluding homicides, are down overall in St. Paul this year, compared with the same period last year. This means that, while previous disputes might have been settled with a fistfight, people are now resorting to firearms.

As the homicides continue, the civilians of St. Paul feel like they’re living in a dangerous community.

“I keep hearing about [the homicides] on the news, especially in September,” said Junior Hannah Davis Jacobs. “It’s really scary because I live in St. Paul.”

As people become fearful, they may proceed to illegally arm themselves in order to protect themselves, repeating the cycle of resorting to firearms.

The last homicide was on Oct. 6 at about 5:15 p.m. on 400 Wabasha Street.

This story was originally published on The Rubicon on October 13, 2019.