Mayor Hodges, Chief Harteau, County Attorney Freeman, Council President Johnson Announce Focused Interventions to Address Violent Crime, Offenders
Violent Crimes Investigation Team in Police Department, and special prosecutor in County Attorney’s office, to add to ongoing enforcement and prevention; Mayor also announces beginning of system-wide approach to address violent crime, repeat offenders
November 13, 2015 (MINNEAPOLIS)—Today, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges — joined by Police Chief Janeé Harteau, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, and City Council President Barbara Johnson — announced two new focused initiatives to address a rise in violent crime in Minneapolis in 2015: the establishment of a Violent Crimes Investigation Team in the Police Department, which will pool investigators from various units to focus on investigating violent crimes, and in particular on investigating offenders responsible for or connected to multiple incidents of violent crime; and the designation of a seasoned prosecutor in the County Attorney’s office to prosecute those crimes and those offenders, particularly offenders responsible for multiple violent offenses.
“Violent crime is wrong. Violent crime is unacceptable. It is wrong in any neighborhood. It is unacceptable in any community in Minneapolis. I’m standing here today — we’re all standing together here today — to say we’re doing even more to stop violent crime.” Mayor Hodges said.
Violent crime in Minneapolis has risen more than 5% in 2015 over last year, and almost 9% over two years ago. “The fact that these recent increases come after several years of historic lows frankly doesn’t matter,” Mayor Hodges added.
"We have had 208 more violent crimes reported in our City this year. We do not accept, nor will we tolerate, the violence we have seen, and we will continue to be aggressive in our enforcement efforts and crime-prevention strategies,” Chief Harteau said. “To address our violent-crime patterns even more comprehensively, we have reallocated some of our top investigators into a Violent Crime Investigations Team, who will be working closely with crime analysts to dig deeper into shooting incidents and gun-related crimes. We believe this team will increase effective prosecution and help reduce gun violence overall.”
“We appreciate being part of this initiative by Mayor Hodges and Police Chief Harteau to tackle the problem of violence in Minneapolis,” County Attorney Freeman said. “For our part, we will be dedicating an experienced senior prosecutor to work with the violence unit. We think that should help bring more cases against those who are hurting our citizens.”
“Priority number one for City government is public safety. This focus on violent offenders is exactly where we should be putting our time and effort. It will step up the coordination between the City and the County Attorney and target it on the very few people who are responsible for violent incidents in our community. It is a focused effort that will make a great difference and hold violent offenders accountable,” Council President Johnson said.
In addition to these announcements, Mayor Hodges highlighted that for this work to be fully effective, “we need a system-wide and community-wide approach to ending violent crime and dealing with the people who are repeatedly involved in it as suspects, witnesses, and victims.” To that end, Mayor Hodges has begun to engage public-safety partners such as the State commissioner of corrections, the directors of County corrections and probation, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, the Minneapolis Park Board, the Minneapolis Public Schools, members of the faith and nonprofit communities, and others. “They have all told me that they are game for working with me to develop an even more comprehensive strategy of focused intervention when it comes to violent crime and the individuals who commit disproportionate numbers of violent offenses,” Mayor Hodges said.
“They are ready to get to work, and so am I.”
Mayor Hodges and Chief Harteau also praised the hard enforcement and prevention work of Minneapolis police officers. “We also need to consider the crimes that didn't occur because of the hard work and proactive strategies of our officers,” Chief Harteau said. “We are making swift arrests and aggressively investigating each incident: while violent crime is up 5%, total arrests for violent crime are up 13%. We now have 824 sworn officers on the street, and will have close to 860 by year’s end. And we have recorded almost 78,000 positive contacts between officers and residents this year. These are reasons why even with this violent-crime increase, Minneapolis is faring better than many other major cities.”
Mayor Hodges stressed that these new focused interventions in investigation and prosecution come in the context of innovative prevention, intervention, and diversion work that the City and partners have been doing on the ground and upstream. These efforts include: Byrne Grants focused on Northside violence-crime hot spots and in Little Earth; a domestic-violence-response pilot project; a working group on early-childhood exposure to violence; the City’s near-decade-long Youth Violence Prevention initiative; work Mayor Hodges is leading around juvenile-justice reform; the Juvenile Supervision Center; and the municipal criminal-justice-reform package that Mayor Hodges proposed for the City’s 2016 budget.
“It bears repeating,” Mayor Hodges concluded, that “violent crime is wrong, it is unacceptable, and in Minneapolis, we are fighting it and fighting it hard.”
Published Nov 13, 2015