Brooklyn Park police stepping up community engagement efforts to address crime

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Brooklyn Park police are working to redeploy more officers to engage with residents in an apartment complex as part of an effort to try and deter crime and improve safety.

“In the last few weeks, there’s have been a lot of challenges that have happened there, some tragic things that happened,” Brooklyn Park Police Inspector Elliot Faust said.

Earlier in the week, officers responded to shots fired inside an apartment building in the 5800 block of 73rd Avenue North at Huntington Place.

Just last week, a security guard at those apartments told police he shot a man trying to stab a woman.

In late July, a 12-year-old boy was the unintended target of a shooting on a basketball court at a park that borders the complex, police say.

“We had to get back on the wagon of our community engagement work that we are very good at,” Faust said. “We’ve developed a robust plan about how we are going to re-engage in that community and get back involved.”

That’s part of the new police plan developed in recent weeks to re-engage proactively with residents to develop new relationships at the complex of around 2,500 people that stretches more than 20 acres, something the inspector said wasn’t happening as much due to COVID-19.

“It’s imperative for us residents to come together and address these problems,” said Tekoa Cochran, who leads The Village BP, a residents group that focuses on livability issues, which also includes security.

Cochran’s helping coordinate an event in the coming days to bring police and residents together — to let their voices be heard.

“I see that changing the narrative, I absolutely do,” Cochran said.

There have been 243 crimes investigated, with a total of 1,578 reported incidents for officers to respond to in the area in 2022, according to Brooklyn Park Police data.

Crime statistics near Huntington Place. (Brooklyn Park Police Department)

“Aeon’s work to improve safety and security at Huntington Place includes: adding enhanced security patrols starting last summer, adding a perimeter fence (this is under construction now), adding traffic calming measures and a security checkpoint for vehicles that is staffed 24/7, and adding more security cameras. Our other efforts include services and support for residents, and collaboration with community organizations and law enforcement. We’ve seen positive results from this work… Home is a place where residents feel safe — that is our goal for all the residents at Huntington Place,” a complex spokesperson wrote in a statement.

Bishop Harding Smith is a community activist in Brooklyn Park. His volunteers work in other parts of town to try and deter crime.

“It’s so, so important,” Smith said of the new plan for the area on 73rd Avenue North. “I think it’s great now the chief is working on a plan that will be able to deal with the problems.”