April Meeting, part 2: State of the Precinct and Courtwatch

STATE OF THE PRECINCT

CRIME STATISTICS, March 15-April 10, 2022, compared with 2021, and trend

Assault                         61       68    DOWN

     Incl. Dom.Aslt.          5      16     WAY DOWN

Burgl (Incl. B&E)          25      30     DOWN

Vandalism                    59      43     UP

Homicide                       0        1      DOWN

Larceny/Theft             188    139     WAY UP

M.V. Theft                     40      33     UP

Robbery                        15     16     DOWN

     Incl C.Jacking            7       7     —-

Sex Offenses                  3       8    DOWN

Stolen Property               6      4    UP

Weapons Law Violations 4      5   DOWN

Gun Violence, March 15-April 10, 2022, compared with 2021, and trend

Gunshot wound victims    0       2  DOWN

Shots fired calls              27     24  UP     This is a soft number.  1 shot may be

                                                                 reported by many people.

Hennepin County arrests and warrants for March:

   Officers made 69 arrests.

    60 felonies were charged.   

    60% of those new felonies were by people on probation 

Questions about events and issues:

Doughnut drivers closed an intersection in Dinkytown (4th and 14th?)  A video came up on the Facebook site, 2nd Precinct Crimewatch.

Two questions:  How do you stop that?    and,  What is typical police response.

Lt. Nelson responded: 

Agreed that these are not students.   These cars are typically $75,000 Dodge Chargers with a special engine.  The people who do it sometimes post in advance on social media.   Right now, police response is to get ahead of the drivers, so there are squads with lights going when they show up.  This may be enough for some to just keep on going.   MPD is partnering with other agencies, including the Highway Patrol, to have a bigger presence as a deterrent.

This is not a Minneapolis issue.   This is nation-wide.  Inspector McGinty and Lt. Nelson are conferring with other places to see how other communities are responding.    ln California, the law is that a first offense gets the driver a ticket and fine.   The second offense in a “certain amount of time” (which may be as long as five years) will get you another ticket and the vehicle will be confiscated. 

We’re asking legislators to put something on the books so law enforcement has better tools to use.

Driving doughnuts is dangerous in several ways.  Bystanders get too close trying to get a photo or video and get hit by the heavy vehicle.   We had two incidents last summer, one in North Minneapolis and another in the 3rd Precinct, of people firing guns.   Two people died.  

QQ: Do these cars have plates?   Can you use that to trace the cars?

AA:  If they’re from out of state, they probably won’t have front plates.   If they are Minnesota cars, we can find the owners but that does not mean the owner is driving the car.  

QQ: Can that be made a civil offense?   If someone parks my car illegally and it gets ticketed, I’m responsible  for that ticket.   Wouldn’t that help?

AA: City Okoronkwo responded that the city used to do a lot of charging in cases where (usually) an adult child would run up a number of  charges driving the parent’s car, so the parent was held responsible.   This became a burden on the owner who needed that car to get to a job, but could lose their job with no car.  This is why the city stepped back from those cases.   The county still does some level of forfeiture for felony level cases.

EQ:  If someone is starting a petition to support  confiscation of the vehicle, I’ll be happy to post  an announcement. 

Crime in the 2nd Precinct  

Lt Nelson reported that they have extra patrol  from late afternoon to midnight to combat car jackings especially in Marcy-Holmes and Central-Lowry.  She’s asked the Inspector to continue that extra patrol through the end of May.  There are fewer carjackings, robbery and burglary.   (EQ NOTE:  that was not apparent on my report shown above which covered a slightly earlier time period.   I looked again on 4/18 and the numbers are down, just as she said. My error.)  

The spring hockey plans were completed (unfortunately not needed) but Spring Jam is coming up.   We will be working in cooperation with the UMPD so the 2nd Precinct is ready for that.   We’ve cancelled days off for all three shifts.   This is more of a dog watch concern, but day watch will be prepared also.    We want people to celebrate, but we also want them to be safe while they’re celebrating. 

Recruitment:   A new class of CSOs (Community Service Officers) is coming through (29 people)  This program is a source of more staff diversity.  It’s aimed at people who are through high school or just starting college.   They get help with college tuition and have a chance to learn what police work is like.   This is huge because CSOs free officers from critical tasks like moving supplies, taking squads in for servicing and then retrieving them.   They are shifted to different assignments every four to six months.   They may move from a precinct into an investigative unit, transporting property (but not evidence) from Point A to Point B help people get their property back.  They may help with rudimentary investigative tasks. 

Recruits and Cadets are also coming in.   Recruits are people who are already  post-license. Cadets are people who are making a career change switching from a non-linear program (like chemistry) to police work.

[EQ: Good News!  I asked about staffing in the 2nd Pct, and we are up 5 people to 55.   Progress!]

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

CPS Ali came in with an answer to a question posed by a resident.  She had spotted 5 cars parked along the street near her home and all were missing license plates.   EQ sent the question on to our CPS

CPS: People are swapping out license plates from cars parked along the street with the plates on their own cars.   Most people never look at their own plates, so it may be a long time before you notice that the plate on your car is not your plate.   In the meantime,  an officer running your plate into the computer will not find your plate with a tag.

He suggested people can buy an anti-theft kit for their plates.   They are very inexpensive.  [EQ: Google: “car license plate anti-theft”   and you’ll get over 11 million hits, ranging in price from under $5 to as much as you want to spend for custom designed license plate frames.]   The simplest are special screws that will just spin if someone tries to remove it with a screwdriver.    Your goal is to slow the thieves down as much as possible.  In Minnesota, the DMV page says,  for damaged or stolen plates, “You will be required to pay a service fee of $8.50 and a replacement fee of $14.00 for double plates and $10.00 for a single plate.”   The benefit for the police is that your old number is no longer in the system, and officers can act on that information.  [EQ: on the video, you’ll hear me reporting much more expensive  — but obsolete — replacement rules.   The “old” way was full charge by DMV for each set.]

The CPS continued, if a person puts a stolen plate on his car and then robs a gas station, he knows his plate has been captured on the security cameras.   He then drives into a residential area (not many people on the street to spot him), takes a new plate off a different car,  swaps it with the plate on his car.    Most people don’t look at their plates so the owner of the vandalized car may not realize what’s happened for weeks. Now the plate thief can drive around town without worrying about someone spotting his “hot” plate.     This cycle can repeat over and over. 

QQ for CPS Ali:  1) Is there a program where we can have an anti theft device placed on your catalytic converter?    

  2)  We are always looking at ways we can all track crime, so we can make an impact moving together.  What suggestions do you have?

AA:  1)  There are neighborhoods  applying for grants to help residents get their anti-theft devices installed.  He is not sure if that is city-wide.    

2) Always try to eliminate crimes of opportunity.  We can reduce crime in the Second Precinct by 50% by eliminating those crimes

Be aware of your surroundings.  Secure your homes,  cars and garages.  Take expensive things out of the car when you leave it.   Park in your garage if you have one. 

COURTWATCH

Probation Officer Holly Ihrke reported on arrests and charges for March:  69 arrests   for warrants, trespassing, motor vehicle tampering, burglary of dwelling. 10 felonies charged: 1 assault, 2 drug charges, 2 escape from custody, 1 homicide,  2 receiving or concealing stolen property, 1 robberies, 1 administration of justice. 

QQ:  Last month you talked about people “failing Probation”.   What happens then?  

AA:  60% of people on probation have their probation revoked, usually for failing to meet their requirements.  

When they’re sentenced, the term is set by sentencing guidelines.  Probation depends on the person meeting a set of agreements.   If they commit a new crime or don’t meet the conditions of probation, it’s up to the Probation Officer to determine the personal or public safety risk and inform the court.   The judge will then decide if they must go back to prison, return to treatment, or any of a variety of responses. 

P.O. Ihrke suggested a number of responses to probation that she’s heard from her clients, including people who prefer prison to probation.  At present, some of the court responses are less strict than other responses, depending on issues we didn’t go into.  [EQ: we’ll be hearing more about this in May.]

She also pointed out that there are opportunities for people to make a difference in their own lives, starting in prison.   These opportunities include education, job training and more.   Some people go to half-way houses which are intended to provide the same opportunities but in a structured environment, after prison.  Half-way houses  provide opportunities for education release, work release.  A new program being tested now is built on the hope that people will want to get out of prison early to receive training at Metropolitan Community and Technical College or a technical trade school.  The hope is that people will want to get out early to get that training.

Find the YouTube recording of this meeting here: 

Emilie Quast, Board member

MPD 2nd Precinct Advisory Council (2-PAC)

e-quas@umn.edu

If you have a question about neighborhood safety and security trends or responses, write me at the above email address, and I’ll find someone who knows what the situation and the response are.

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Attachments area

Preview YouTube video CSI: Minneapolis.

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