Sept report, Part 2: State of the Precinct and Watching the Courts

State of the Precinct

Crime summary for the first 12 days of September: 

8 aggravated assaults, including 5 domestic agg. assaults.

2 robberies and

1 rape

Property crime – 130 incidents, including

68 larcenies

27 theft from m.vehicles

18 auto theft

17 arsons.

As usual, the Second Precinct had the lowest percent, 6.25% of all reported Mpls. Cases.

CPS Rashid Ali commented that when we talk about the lowest percent in the city, we lose sight of the

fact that for the Second Precinct, these numbers are very high.  They are going up every week. 

We just do not have enough officers on the street.   AND if we had seen those numbers two years

ago, we would be freaking out.  [EQ:  Good points!   Thank you.]

QQ: Is police attention still focused in Dinkytown?  

CPS Ali:  Dinkytown is an area of concern.   MPD and UMPD are working closely together to

bring the numbers down.   Both forces were very concerned about Welcome Week bringing new

students back to the area.   MPD and UMPD focused on putting a lot of boots on the street,

walking around, talking with students, reminding them of safety techniques (“Be aware of your

surroundings.” “Don’t focus on your phone.”)   The Second Precinct has enough funds to give

officers overtime detail keeping people safe.  

Welcome Week is particularly difficult because people new to the area perhaps don’t realize they are targets.

QQ: You have stated that crime is going up.   Is there any indication that it is starting to stabilize?

CPS Ali:  At present, we anticipate that the numbers are going to stay the same unless we get

more officers.   We need those officers walking the street.

QQ: So, this is more of a staffing issue? 

CPS Ali: To give you an example: we no longer have a Community Response Team (or “cert” for

CRT) because we don’t have the staff to offer that service.  CRT did drug enforcement and drug

investigations.   Now several precincts share a CRT team, but we used to have our own.

For another example, we used to have a Problem Properties Unit, which would address common

issues like loud parties, loud music, drugs and criminal activity centered on a single house.

Now, the strategy is to focus on hot spots — Dinkytown, Marcy Holmes and Central — because that will have the biggest impact.

The bottom line is just this:   We need more officers.

Court Update:  Nnamdi Okoronkwo, City Attorney, reporting:

Minneapolis Attorney’s Office is continuing to work on backlog cases and we’re still not able to

work from our offices.    Returning to the office was supposed to begin early in September, and

that’s now been pushed back to January.  We are triaging a lot of the cases, and trying to focus on

those in which people have been victimized – particularly accidents, domestic assaults, and

similar.  These cases are being pushed out further and further, and we’re trying to deliver some

sort of end result if at all possible.

Reform efforts: Officers no longer use expired tabs or things dangling from the rearview mirror

as the basis for a traffic stop.   Hennepin County is saying they won’t prosecute those cases. 

Recently the Legislature decided that unpaid fines or fees will no longer lead to a suspended or

revoked license.

QQ:   Is it just “on their honor” that people register their vehicles?   There doesn’t seem to be any

enforcement.  Most people would anyway, but some would not.

QQ: If they don’t get a license, they’re uninsured, right?   So, who pays if there is an accident?

That sounds like a big risk for everybody.

ANS:  It’s been difficult for people to get their tabs for a long time.  AND this is a public safety

issue.  Atty Okoronkwo did work in the traffic division for a long time.  If someone runs up a

string of these suspensions and enters a plea and pays the fine, the license is revoked.

Sarah Haglund, paralegal at  HCAO:  I worked at the DMV for several

years.    You can have expired tabs but still have current insurance.  If you have your insurance

on auto-pay or just pay from month to month, they don’t check the status of your tabs so the

coverage is intact.

QQ: What is the impact of lower traffic enforcement?   We see a lot of cars running red lights, not

stopping for stop signs and so on.  Those are a lot more serious than expired tabs.   It seems like

this would escalate, like if nothing happens for my expired tabs, what else can I get away with?

Atty Okoronkwo: To clarify:   Our office is prosecuting moving violations as they come

forward.  We are not going to prosecute based solely on how many fines a person has run up.

We’re trying to give a person an opportunity to address those penalties in court.   There is a

process known as “diversion”.   This gives people a chance to address these charges and fines so

they CAN maintain a valid license which is what we want people to do – and presumably [to hold]

insurance as well.

There is a lot of discussion in the office as well because we’re dealing with other misdemeanors,

with homelessness, with unpermitted camps that pop up in residential areas.   There are a lot of

related issues that are popping up.   We don’t have a good answer for how to deal with these

interrelated issues.   It’s not a crime to be homeless.   It can be a continuing issue for neighbors. 

QQ:  There is a continuing issue in Sheridan.  Homeless people are impacting a neighborhood

small business.   The owner is worried, and asked her to bring this issue up at PAC.  This is a small

business but he can’t keep these people away so that his customers can come in.   Who can make

this stop?

Atty Okoronkwo:  We are aware of this.  City and county agencies are offering all kinds of help

but the people involved do not want to take advantage of that.  St. Stephens Homeless Outreach

has made repeated offers there.   There is a group of officers led by Lt. Grant Snyder, and they’re

being turned down, too.   It seems that at the current level of staffing, the city can’t do more.   In the

past, we had a coordinated effort but that is no longer possible to do.  Shelters that the city used

to rely on are not available any more.

Emilie Quast, Board member
MPD Second Precinct Advisory Council (2-PAC)
Minneapolis MN 55418


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