Recent Spike in Duluth Violent Crimes has Some Residents on Edge

By KBJR News 1

June 13, 2013 Updated Jun 13, 2013 at 6:12 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Sam Popham makes a daily trek from his East Hillside home to his downtown office, and says recent events in and around the neighborhood have him more aware of his surroundings.

"The other day when I was leaving work, I heard that there was a gunshot victim. It was only a couple blocks from the office—right next to where I park," said Popham, walking back home from work.

That victim was 22–year–old Deandre Norwood, who was shot in the head after a heated confrontation just outside his East hillside apartment in May. Norwood survived, and one suspect was arrested, but it changed Popham's perspective on the neighborhood.

"Since that story came out, I have been a lot more cautious and aware, and I have not parked on 3rd Street when I'm working a night shift since that happened," said Popham.

Days later, 29–year–old Nicole Revello was arrested after stabbing and killing 46–year–old Lisa Davis in a Central Hillside home.
That violent crime, says Hillside resident, and mother of three, Savannah Grangruth, has forced her to re–locate two of her kids to her mother's house out of town.

"It's really frustrating to have to go back and forth just to spend time with my kids just because I don't feel like where I live is safe," said Grangruth, in an earlier interview.

According to CrimeMapping.com, Duluth's Central Hillside alone has seen 103 crimes—ranging from disturbing the peace to murder—since June 1st.

16 of those crimes have either been assault or weapons–related.

"We have seen recently some increases in crime. Robberies and violent crime are priorities for us, of course," said Duluth Police Deputy Chief Mike Tusken.

Even with the recent spike, Tusken says violent crime is lower than average for both the nation and Duluth. But he does acknowledge that drug usage—specifically heroin—has been a problem.

In the same Central Hillside area, there have been 4 burglaries and 14 drug–related crimes since June 1st.

"We've had a number of overdoses with heroin that have resulted in deaths," said Tusken, adding that police have been trained to handle the unpredictability of human behavior when dealing with drug–related, or drug–fueled, crimes, "...no question that... facilitating for your drug habit is usually going to result in you doing some form of crime."

Of the three fatal stabbings that Duluth has seen since December, one of them, in which 54–year–old Kevin John Tyman was killed, is still unsolved.

- Posted to the Web by Billy Wagness