October report: MN HEALS 2.0 and State of the Precinct

The meeting was called to order on Oct. 10, 2022, at 6:30 PM, 4 attenders. Note: October 10 is Indigenous People’s Day. Many Minneapolis City offices were closed.

MN HEALS is Minnesota Hope, Education, and Law and Safety.

In 1997, Minneapolis was named “Murderapolis” for the rate of homicides. In response, Hennepin County Atty. Freeman launched MN HEALS. The program focused on the crime center, the Phillips neighborhood. MN HEALS was a coordination of the 16 criminal justice jurisdictions that served the Phillips neighborhood. It included police and probation officers, safety centers, youth jobs programs, community and business leaders. Under the MN HEALS strategy, violent crime declined by more than the national rates over ten years; murder fell in Minneapolis’ Third Precinct from 26 in 1995 to 5 in 2002.

In the 1990s, our speaker, Mike Christensen was head of The Allina Foundation, a community service provider in the Phillips neighborhood.* Phillips was also home to a leading Cardiac Care hospital, Abbott-Northwestern. Abbott-Northwestern Hospital had received a notice: unless something was done about crime in Phillips, the cardiac specialists of A-NW would be leaving the hospital system. They didn’t feel safe coming in.

Honeywell’s world headquarters was also in Phillips. Honeywell was “concerned for the safety of its employees and property, and for the quality of life in the surrounding neighborhood.” Honeywell also decided it could either do something about violent crime or it would have to leave the inner city.

Mr. Christensen, representing Allina, and representatives from Honeywell, 3M, General Mills and the Minnesota Business Partnership (MBP), met with Governor Arne Carlson to secure his support to stop the continued spread of crime, first in Phillips, and then statewide. The local corporations and the MBP contributed financial support, influence and human resources. The executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) provided information and facilitated collaboration among Federal, State, and local criminal justice agencies.**

MN HEALS Structure:

1) Law Enforcement Task Force assignment: develop a strategic response to homicides and shootings and gang activities.

2) Community Task Force assignment: Develop long-range local crime prevention activities, funded at least in part by corporations.

3) Forum Committee assignment: open to all; share information and make recommendations to other committees.

4) Support Committee assignment: approve final actions and make decisions on key objectives and fundraising.

MN HEALS grew to include 61 member organizations including corporate members, Minneapolis and St. Paul city agencies, Hennepin and Ramsey County sheriff’s offices, attorneys’ offices and commissioners, Metro Transit Police, Mpls Dept of Health and Family Support, Mpls Public Schools. State participants included the Dept. of Public Safety, Dept. of Corrections. The University of Minnesota and the MN Attorney General’s Office joined. Federal agencies include the FBI, DEA, ATF, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

A team from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government studied homicide patterns from January 1994 through May 1997. They discovered that almost 45% of homicides appeared to be gang related; African-American youth were disproportionately represented as victims and suspects. More than 40% of gang members had been on probation and 76.8% had arrest histories, with an average of 9.5 arrests. Firearms were used in 2/3 of homicides. These data were the basis of the 1997 focus response. The Gang Unit of the MPD used its database to identify gangs and to target specific youth. The unit focused on 50 people who were multiple offenders.

Strategic Intervention: In 1997, the Law Enforcement Task Force began action: After a shooting, a team including police, probation officers, federal and local prosecutors, and federal law enforcement located and met with suspects AND with victims’ associates. Probation officers checked to see if anyone was under the authority of the Dept. of Probation, because they could receive extra attention from that Dept. One well-publicized intervention included a car search in which four guns and two Molotov cocktails were discovered. This coordinated response was seen as a major factor in stopping the violence in 1997.

Minneapolis Anti-Violence Initiative (MAVI)

MAVI pairs MPD officers and Sheriff’s deputies with probation officers from the Hennepin County Dept. of Community Corrections. The teams made unannounced visits to probationers, including 331 juveniles and 398 adults over 15 months. ATF agents also traced every firearm recovered by police within 1 day after confiscation. If a suspicious trace was discovered, police were able to develop cases for illegal firearm use and trafficking.

Saturation Patrols. Patrol and gang unit officers with ATF agents conducted saturation patrols in small targeted areas. The goal was to remove as many firearms from the streets as possible. The program also targeted residential gun dealers.

State Gang Task Force

This task force had 40 members from local, county and State police agencies. All members are deputized and have statewide power which allows them to work across jurisdictions.

Outcomes: It’s been noted that crime dropped across the U.S. during this period, but Phillips drops were deeper than the average including homicides (which included gang-related homicides). Many of the 1997 strategies have been institutionalized including MAVI, saturation patrols, rapid response teams, Federal gun prosecutions and more. CODEFOR, a statistical analysis of crime to detect patterns has allowed police to deploy personnel efficiently.

Community Prevention and Intervention Strategies

 Additional information from Mr. Christensen:  6 different housing projects, 52 residential units (mixed income, owner-occupied) were completed.
Neighborhood Parks got funds to extend summer hour programs.
The Health Care Coalition on Violence, led by the Allina Foundation started  the E-Codes, which records data on external injuries.  Data are used to develop prevention programs.
With corporate sponsors, MPS developed the New Vistas School for high-school age parents.   This program leads a young parent to a high school diploma, parenting classes, employment training, health and social services. 
General Mills and two minority-owned food processing companies launched Siyeza, a frozen soul-food company. 
The president of General Mills Foundation formed the "Hawthorne Huddle, a monthly meeting where neighbors report community problems and devise solutions.
Abbott Northwestern Hospital developed a paid employment training program Train to Work, funded by Allina Foundation and others.   Welfare recipients received 120 hours of entry level training and 18 months of mentoring leading to jobs at standard entry wages with full benefits.  Of 50 placed graduates, 33 were still at their jobs after 8 months.   3M created a jobs program that paired low-income participants with "coaches" who help them succeed.

More information from Mr Christensen:

Mr Christensen noted in passing that many of the people in trouble or heading for trouble had reading levels at or near 3rd grade level. [Functional literacy linked to criminal activity: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Functional_illiteracy%5D

We secured $1B in Federal resources to improve public transit and the nearby light rail station.
MN HEALS rebuilt Franklin, Lake Street and Chicago Avenues. 
As Phillips became a growth area in the city, crime went down.   That's the Phillips Neighborhood story.

MN HEALS 2.0 – The Next Chapter

Many of the responses created after 1997 are now standard operations: Train to Work, New Vistas, The Gang Task Force, Saturation Patrols.

However, Covid lock-downs and other factors led to a new rise in crime, which was more violent. 2021 saw some 600 attempted or successful car jackings; a spate of carjacking in Edina let suburbs know this crime was spreading.

The first meeting for MN HEALS 2.0 included mayors, county commissioners, law enforcement, business and faith leaders. Leaders had a contentious meeting in January of 2022,*** which led to H.C. Attorney Freeman’s announcement of the formation of MN HEALS 2.0, a public-private partnership among mayors, county commissioners, law enforcement, business leaders and faith leaders.

From a bulletin issued by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office 9/1/22 ****

Representatives from the original HEALS reminded the attenders that public safety gains could best be achieved with a cross-sector approach. The committee made the following adjustments early in 2022:

  1. The HCAO blocked our prosecutions to a special team.
  2. Juvenile Court, led by Judge Mark Kappelhoff, blocked out carjacking cases to judges on a rotating basis.
  3. U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger announced that every federal prosecutor in the U.S. The Attorney’s Office would take on violent crime cases in addition to their other work, and this included the prioritization of violent carjacking cases committed by suspects ages 18 and older. HCAO retained juvenile cases.
  4. Detention policies were reviewed with all MN HEALS 2.0 members and assurances given on detention for suspects.
  5. The State of Minnesota has increased its mutual aid into Minneapolis, with a campaign focus on motor vehicle stops.
  6. All Hennepin County suburbs have embedded social workers with police departments.

Carjacking cases submitted to the HCAO for review are down, but clearance rates remain low, thus MN HEALS 2.0 will continue to focus on carjackings. .
Clearance rates are the next issue to address. [See https://www.courtools.org/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/9614/courtools_appellate_measure3_clearance_rates.pdf%5D
Because over 70% of carjackings were committed in Minneapolis or by Minneapolis residents, MN HEALS 2.0 focus has remained on Minneapolis for now. A meeting later in Sept will have suburban initiatives highlighted.

US Attorney Andrew Luger and HC Attorney Mike Freeman, with their senior teams, have mapped out a plan to share prosecutorial responsibility.
THe HCAO launched a Chief’s Roundtable, which allows police chiefs across the county to conduct care reviews with the chief civil and criminal deputies from the HCAO.

In May 2022, Attorney Freeman recommended that the MN HEALS 2.0 work plan be broken down into three committees

Amanda Harrington leads the Early Intervention Committee - The Early Intervention Committee proposed an evaluation framework for proposals into HEALS, with (now approved) recommendations on programming.
Louis King leads the Prevention Committee - The Prevention Committee recommended a plan to expand embedded social workers and expand technology across the County. 
Mark Osler leads the Response to Violent Crime Committee - The Response to Violent Crime Committee's report is in Mark Osler's HEALS document, below.

1) Address the outstanding warrants in Minneapolis for serious violent crimes and those most likely to commit them. Renew the U.S. Marshals Task Force and encourage other task force activity. Promote multi-jurisdictional task forces because of low police staffing. Aligning policies between jurisdictions is crucial to maintaining mutual aid and partnered resources.
2) Improve clearance rates. ….[N]o intervention more immediately prevents future violence than clearing the streets of those who have committed violent crimes. Even drug or weapons interdiction … cannot compare with public safety gains earned by improving the homicide, carjacking, and violent crime clearance rates. Minneapolis homicides currently have a clearance rate of 38% and carjackings of 12%. The Response to Violent Crime Committee report proposes an immediate infusion of investigators into MPD ….The U.S. Department of Justice has funding available through Project Safe Neighborhoods that may be used to increase investigative capacity within MPD. Osler invited MPD to coordinate with this infusion of investigators and offered his committeee’s help going forward. Chief Amelia Huffman accepted the invitation at the August 15 meeting
3) Continue geographic focus. Osler noted that the hot spot efforts in Minneapolis may lead to regional gains in increasing the clearance rate and executing outstanding warrants.

*https://secure.allinahealth.org/site/SPageNavigator/donation_landing_2022_buttons.html (Click on the Allina Health Foundation Initiatives)

** https://www.policeforum.org/

***https://www.startribune.com/twin-cities-mayors-police-chiefs-prosecutors-join-forces-on-rising-crime-car-theft-carjacking/600134581/ also https://www.startribune.com/fresh-thinking-needed-on-fighting-crime/600136276/



NB: No reports from CPS Ali, HCAO, or MAO because of the holiday. The following is the statistical report from the MPD Crime Dashboard

Charge 9/12-10/10 Last year
Assault 80 66
Incl. Domestic Ast 9 5
Burglary, B&E 31 48
Vandalism 66 48
Homicide 0 0
Larceny/Theft 222 217
MV Theft 68 73
Robbery 7 25
Incl. carjacking 1 8
Sex offenses 8 16
Stolen property 2 4
Weapons violations 9 5

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