State of the Precinct
Inspector Loining sent the following chart and some good graphics, depicting YTD crime in the 2nd Precinct.
Referring to the chart “2nd Precinct reported Violent Crime 1/1 – 12/6” the Inspector reported he met in early December with Surkyk’s owners and separately with Jeff Meehan (2-PAC board member). The crime trends in the Second Precinct are in line with the trends across Minneapolis, the MSP metro area, and every major city across the country.
In the 2nd Precinct, we normally see 2 to 4 homicides, and this year we’ve had 3.
Reported sexual assaults have gone down for the last two years, so that’s good news.
Robberies, including car-jackings are up. In 2020, we had 163 reported robberies. 2021 saw an increase of 47% — 241 reported robberies [as of 12/13]. Back in 2019, we had 98 reports.
Aggravated assaults (assault with a weapon. It can also be an assault that causes substantial body harm as a broken nose in a fight — these are felonies)
In 2019, 6 people were shot in the 2nd Pct. but in 2021 the number was 37.
We’ve heard people blaming the rise in crime on the loss of officers. It is true, we’ve lost about 30% of staff.
Inspector Loining doesn’t feel this has led to an increase in crime. Certain elements in the criminal groups are becoming more bold and more violent. They, like the rest of us, hear that police staffing is down. What is also true is that the consequences of crime have been watered down. The Hennepin County and City Attorneys’ Offices do a good job of prosecuting cases. We’ve had instances in which suspects are apprehended, put in jail, and then released. Then they go out and commit more crime.
The Inspector related a story shared at a meeting of precinct inspectors. Officers had apprehended people suspected of a robbery and put them in the back of a squad car. The squad video captured the people, who were juveniles, laughing in the back of the squad and singing. It is very concerning that these juveniles were not apprehensive about their situation.
So, what do we do about this? We ARE maintaining the number of officers out on patrol every day. We do this by requesting assistance from other precincts, we post overtime shifts. We have a quorum of officers we must have out there every day to effectively and efficiently answer [prioritized] calls for service. We work to meet that. [EQ: I can testify to that. I wanted to drop something off mid afternoon at the precinct and it was lights out, door locked, notice on the door instructed me to call 911/311 for assistance. I later met the day watch Sgt who told me the reason: that officer who would have been at the front desk was needed in a squad car.]
It is true that we’ve lost officers to medical and other issues, but the officers who are out there working, are there because they care. They took an oath to serve and to protect, and they are upholding that oath.
The Police Academy just graduated a new class and the 2nd Precinct got 4 of those officers on their roster. They started on December 5. Acting Chief Hoffman announced that 2022 will see four more academies, which points to an increase of 160 officers in the coming year. Additionally, the MPD is sending out notices to hire experienced officers in other PDs. If they’ve had training and experience, they can expect a shorter training requirement and they’ll be on the street much earlier than a new recruit would be. [EQ: Officer Hickey described the shorter training requirement in November when he presented to 2-PAC]
The Inspector and CPS Ali responded to Emilie’s comment that we still need to remind and teach residents to take more responsibility for their own safety. A comment was made that incoming University students are young enough to still feel invincible. Additionally they may be moving in from a suburb or other municipality where it’s normal to leave a car running to warm up, or to leave the house unlocked to run a quick errand. In the inner city, either of those can trigger a crime of opportunity.
Headline crash info. The story of the Dec. 8 crash at Lowry and Hayes that killed two people is outlined here: https://www.hometownsource.com/sun_post/community/police-pursuit-of-stolen-vehicle-ends-in-two-deaths/article_b48f4548-5c70-11ec-96ae-7b764fe2377d.html The Star Tribune’s photo is terrifying: https://www.startribune.com/teen-killed-in-northeast-minneapolis-crash-while-fleeing-police-idd/600128188/
CPS Ali pointed out that “…Every city has a different policy when it comes to pursuing vehicles.” Later Inspector Loining clarified, “Robbinsdale PD pursued the vehicle. The fleeing vehicle crashed at Lowry AV NE & Hayes ST. NO MPD Officers were involved.” Thank you, Inspector.
City Atty Nnamdi Okoronkwo had not been in court for a while. He’d been setting bails for people accused of domestic abuse which is a mandatory arrest. If the accused is not there when officers arrive, we have people to follow up with the complainant, to see if they need services, and to discuss if there is a need to plan a removal.
He commented that the things his office prosecutes, livability cases, DWIs, burglaries, and so on — the City Attorney’s Office just does not have the big hammer that you usually have if you can’t hold people for a period of time. This can add to the problem if people don’t see the consequences immediately, they can continue to act that way.
Probation Officer Holly Ihrke reported ongoing work in Hennepin County. A lot of effort and resources have been dedicated to sheltering people. Teams of health care workers and resource workers are going to encampments and trying to provide medical and housing needs. The Second Precinct has been good at networking with those providers. Also, the Bench has been good at seeing that warrants based on livability crimes can be an impediment toward getting into a stable setting.
There used to be a Specialty Court that focused on this issue, but that was shut down. In response, P.O. Ihrke, Atty Filardo (HCAO) and Mary Ellen Heng in the City Attorney’s Office, the Bloomington City Attorneys, and the Public Defenders Office came up with a Housing Readiness Bench Warrant Resolution process. If people are actively seeking housing services, and are working with a case manager, but they have outstanding warrants or cases that are preventing them from getting permanent shelter, a process has been created to actually resolve these cases. Landlords don’t want to rent to someone with pending cases. The City and County Attorneys offices and public defenders negotiated an agreement on which cases they’re willing to address. This process was created for two reasons: 1) to fill the gap that the former Homes Court addressed, and 2) to prevent a lot of livability crimes being charged that would not happen if people had a place to go to.
That is a bright light: city and county attorneys are coming across and agreeing with public defenders on a program to assist unsheltered and attorneys and defenders agreeing that the point of entry can be the Public Defenders Office. [that is a great start!–EQ]
Charges: 12 felonies were charged last month in the Second Precinct: 2 assaults, 1 burglary, 2 drug charges, 1 kidnapping, 1 property damage, 3 robberies, 1 theft.
Atty Okoronkwo commented that his office has NOT been told to not charge some of these offenses, but there is awareness that for some individuals, a charge may be a very high barrier to a person’s being able regain stability and so a charge can contribute to a person’s homelessness.
P.O. Ihrke again commented that the Second Precinct is very good at meeting people at their level, triaging, working with the workers.
Atty Okoronkwo added that he works with a lot of public defenders and believes they have a strong sense of what we are discussing here. They want to find resolution for their clients.