The Zoom meeting was called to order at 6:10. Crime Prevention Specialist, Rashid Ali, presenting.
Policing today is at a critical point. The MPD has been understaffed for a long, long time. MPD also has a number of people at or close to retirement age, further decimating the roster. Officers report having to race from call to call to call, without enough time to reach out and connect with bystanders, friends or family. It’s those connections that make a police force part of the community. Meanwhile Part 1 crimes are being reported more often.
One thing all residents can do to keep themselves and their neighbors safe, and to help the officers keep our neighborhoods safe, is to learn how Block Clubs work and take Block Club Leader training, so you have a complete picture of city services work.
On October 12, CPS Rashid Ali presented today’s Block Club Leader program.
The Second Precinct is divided into two sectors:
Sector 1: North of Broadway Street NE. Abdirashid Ali, Crime Prevention Specialist, email: Abdirashid.Ali@minneapolismn.gov (612) 673-2874 Sector 2: South of Broadway Street NE. Nicholas Juarez, Crime Prevention Specialist. email: Nicholas.Juarez@minneapolismn.gov (612) 673-2797
When we talk about “community policing”, one of the bedrocks is establishing a partnership between residents and the police. The way to do that is to organize as many block clubs as we can, and find as many volunteer block club leaders as possible. The original goal was 90% coverage of the city.
Before the pandemic, when Nick and Rashid were door knocking to talk with residents about a crime or a developing situation, they would try to recruit people to see if people were interested in organizing to reduce crime on their block. Any information gathered for recruiting, like any other personal information known to the police, is NEVER shared with anyone. If someone on a block wants to get in touch with the BC Leader on their block, your CPS will contact the leader and ask them to contact their neighbor.
The Block Club Leader works with the police and with the neighbors. The goal is to reduce crime by reducing opportunity for crime to happen. When something serious happens, the CPS contacts the BC Leader. When that person hears of something happening on the block, they inform the police. The position is completely voluntary. Leaders can leave any time they want, and rejoin at a later time. It’s also fine to have multiple leaders on one block.
The only other requirement to be a BC Leader is you must host two events a year. For many people, one event is a National Night Out party on the first Tuesday of August. People have had all sorts of second events, including cookouts, wine tastings, a neighborhood association session, anything. Someone in Columbia Heights hosted a sit down dinner in their home to discuss a concerning situation that was developing in C.H.
WHAT DO BLOCK CLUBS DO?
Create stability, by providing an opportunity for neighbors to get to know each other and watch out for each other. As awareness increases, the opportunity for crime decreases. Block clubs encourage information sharing and promote partnerships and collaboration to solve shared problems. The goal is always to create a strong organization where people know each other and share.
How we do that: We encourage people to be “Active Bystanders”. Know what is “normal” for your block or neighborhood so you can spot suspicious activity, like:
Persons running through yards or walking close to houses where they don’t belong,
Vehicles driving slowly through the area,
People going door to door without proper identification,
People walking down the street/alley looking in vehicle windows or garages.
If the CPS gets a report that something is happening, we’ll contact the BC Leader so they can let the neighbors know it’s happened, and to watch and report if that’s called for.
Crime alert bulletins are probably the most timely reports. They are issued to Block Club Leaders and others by Rashid and Nick as soon as possible, and they go through Gov.Delivery. If a resident wants to receive this, contact your CPS to be added to the delivery list.
The city has tools, which we’ll share when we train BC Leaders, including crime alerts, maps, dashboards. These are open resources.
www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/police/crimealert/index.htm for the index to crime alerts
www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/police/crimealert/police/statistics.htm This is the dashboard.
You can sign up here:
Dashboards are part of the MPD’s intent to be transparent in their work. Chief Arradondo believes that transparency with the public is an important part of his mission. If you lose the above URLs, just Google “City of Minneapolis. Crime alert” or “City of Minneapolis. Crime facts”
A new resource, Raidsonline, was introduced by the Star Tribune: https://www.startribune.com/it-happened-where-new-tools-online-try-to-make-minneapolis-safer/244123081/The story includes a link so you can look at it. If you open the screen, you’ll find you can specify the kinds of crime you want to learn more about and build your search around those
Minneapolis also has a dashboard for getting many different kinds of police and other official reports. Check here: https://www.minneapolismn.gov/resident-services/public-safety/police-public-safety/police-reports-and-data-requests/
Finally, if you want to report a crime that doesn’t necessarily need an officer to show up that can be done here: http://www2.minneapolismn.gov/police/report/eReport/index.htm The left side of the screen includes a long list of crimes that can be reported using this form, such as forgery, suspected abuse, damage to property, suspected narcotics issues, and more.
BLOCK LEADERS – The basic point of being a Block Club Leader is to be a point of contact between the 2nd Precinct and the people in your Block Club area.
Determine what your area will be – standard coverage is a 1.5 – 2 block radius around your house
Try and hold 2 meetings a year (National Night Out, usually held on the 1st Tuesday in August, is one event)
-Don’t always focus on crime
-Keep it simple
-Celebrate your successes, share good interactions with the police, share progress toward goals
-Invite everybody on your block
DO include businesses, faith communities
Best way to do outreach – door knock
-Determine best way to stay connected which could be FaceBook, Twitter, Email, other social media
Identify Community Concerns:
-Define the concern
-Get accurate information
Has 311 and/or 911 been called
Fact vs. neighborhood rumor
The resources available to help is depends on the nature of the concern, which your CPS can help you sort out
Civil vs. criminal issues
Regulatory services vs. Police issue
-Develop an Action Plan
What resources are available to the neighborhood
Who will do what
Eliminate the concern
Move the concern
Manage the concern better
Repair the problem
Reduce the harm
Reduce the problem
If you are interested in learning more or signing up, contact Rashid or Nick at the addresses above. When they have enough people on the list, they’ll organize a training. [EQ comment: please don’t hold back if you plan to move out of the area in a few years. Some form of these services and procedures will be available almost anywhere you move in the U.S., so you’ll be ahead of the game when you leave us and take your good training with you. BCL training is concise and informative; it’s not hours and hours of lecture.]
WHEN TO CALL 911 OR 311
Call 911 for the following:
Crime in progress
Attempted Auto Theft
Immediate threat to personal safety
Truancy / curfew violations
You are witnessing suspicious activity happening
Call 911 If:
You have suspect information; There is evidence to be collected
All 911 calls are prioritized:
A squad will respond to the incident location unless you call back and cancel the squad
Response time varies depending on what is happening in the Precinct and in the City
Observe and report
Please remember that the two top priority calls are Person in Danger, and Crime in Progress.
Your call IS important, and will be added to the priority list whether there is a squad available to drive to your location or not. If something has happened that you want to file with your insurance company, you’ll need a police document number. The officers at the Second Precinct will take your complete report and issue you a “blue card” with that file number on it.
Tips for calling the Minneapolis 911 Center: http://www2.minneapolismn.gov/911/tipsforcalling
CRIME STOPPERS OF MINNEAPOLIS Report Crime Information Anonymously Without Fear of Retaliation http://www.crimestoppersmn.org/sitemenu.aspx?ID=674& 1-800-222-8477 Crime Stoppers of Minnesota provides a safe place for citizens to provide anonymous information about crime and fugitives. We’ll deliver your information to the proper authorities to investigate without revealing your identity. If the information you provided leads to a felony arrest, you may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. CALL 311 FOR THE FOLLOWING:
Street, Traffic, or Parking:
Traffic light issues
Inoperable vehicle on street
Lack of utilities
Trash in yard
Public Safety issues
For suspicious activity not happening at time of call
Questions about the City of Minneapolis answered here
WORKSHOPS AND PROGRAMS OFFERED BY MPD AND YOUR CPS
Personal/Workplace Safety Presentations
Call your local CPS to schedule
Presentations can be modified for your needs
2PAC, includes 2nd Precinct CourtWatch (2nd Monday of every Month)
Open House (often the 2nd Monday of May: Free supper, Kids bike give-away, Explore MPD special equipment including robots!)
Block Club Training
National Night Out – 1st Tuesday in August help
WHAT CRIME PREVENTION SPECIALISTS AND POLICE DO NOT DO: Mediate neighbor disputes. (We typically send to Conflict Resolution Center at www.crcminnesota.org or 612.822.9883, except in some situations)
Give specific referrals (i.e., management, locksmiths, security companies, etc.)
Provide any legal advice
Get involved in anything that is NOT a criminal situation (civil matters)
Make judgment calls (ex: moving into an area, whether to contact landlords on specific situations, etc.)
Kick down doors
Evict tenants (civil matter)
Declare a nuisance property (County)
The meeting recording has been posted on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qd8MqZTq404
Emilie Quast, Board member
MPD Second Precinct Advisory Council
Minneapolis MN 55418