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Police Presence Steps Up in Minneapolis after Spike in Violence

Updated: 07/26/2014 5:33 PM
Created: 07/25/2014 7:27 PM KSTP.com
By: Stephen Tellier

Repeated calls to end the violence in north Minneapolis have fallen on deaf ears. On Thursday night, there were two shootings. They were unrelated but just blocks apart.

In the wake of the violence, and the annual spike in summertime crime, the Minneapolis Police Department is beefing up its patrols in north Minneapolis, as well as parts of south Minneapolis.

Twenty-four hours after a man was gunned down at 26th and Penn Ave. North, community members gathered there to demand an end to the violence.

"This is just one murder too many," said Pastor Harding Smith, with Minnesota Acts Now, a nonprofit active in the fight against violence.

"I worked during the homicide, and it was a very sad scene to be there," said Ofc. Brandon Bartholomew, who spent Friday night on a foot patrol with Dep. Nate Sundberg of the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office, just a few blocks from the site of Thursday night's homicide.

"Having grown up in north Minneapolis myself, I take a lot of this personally," Bartholomew said.

Foot patrolling is perhaps an officer's simplest duty, but right now, it also may be the most crucial.

"Letting them [community members] know that we are here to help them, because that's our main goal," Bartholomew said.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS crunched the numbers for the fourth precinct, which covers most of the north side. During the first eight weeks of summer, violent crime there has jumped nine percent compared to the same period last year, although the number of homicides has held steady on a year-to-year basis.

Police said foot patrols build trust, especially during times of trouble. They're also a powerful deterrent.

"Whatever we can find that gives us a reasonable suspicion to stop people, we'll do that," Bartholomew said.

"The extra patrols are good. They make the community feel safe," Smith said.

Smith also said no number of cops will fully solve the problems that ail north Minneapolis.

"We cannot arrest our way out of this situation," Smith said.

The extra patrols did not come without some controversy. 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS previously reported that sources say the original agreement, reached earlier this week between members of the city council and MPD, was to place ten extra officers on the north side, but two days later, it was announced that four extra officers and one supervisor would be placed in north Minneapolis, while four others would beef up patrols in parts of south Minneapolis.

Minneapolis police are also touting one big success: A 12 percent increase in gun recoveries so far this year, compared to last year.

Mayor Betsy Hodges said all the extra officer overtime is expected to cost between $250,000 and $300,000, most of which is already accounted for in the current city budget.

Photo: KSTP-TV

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