Federal, state officials announce new strategy to address violent crime in Twin Cities

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Tuesday, federal and local officials announced a new operation to combat violent crime in the Twin Cities.

U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota Andrew Luger joined federal, state and local law enforcement officials to announce the new strategy.

“Every Minnesotan deserves the right to live safely and securely, without fear of shootings, carjackings and violence,” Luger said.

Luger said the new strategy “significantly increases” federal law enforcement’s and the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s roles in combatting violent crime. The attorney’s office also plans to announce a wave of criminal charges against violent criminals in the coming weeks and months.

“Starting now, every prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office will handle violent crime cases,” Luger said. He added the U.S. Attorney’s Office will also hire additional prosecutors to assist in those efforts.

In 2021 alone, Luger said there were more than 650 carjackings in Minneapolis and over 100 in St. Paul.

In addition to carjackings, Luger said the new strategy will also target illegal gun crimes and gang activity, and promised stiff sentences for those who are prosecuted and convicted. He called the move to make every prosecutor available for violent crime cases “a big change,” as is the formation of a unit to focus on the most violent gang members.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Paul speaks during a press conference on May 3, 2022. To his left is Interim Minneapolis Police Chief Amelia Huffman, and to his right are U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota Andrew Luger and ATF Special Agent in Charge William McCrary. (KSTP)

“We’ve already identified numerous violent offenders throughout the Twin Cities and other key areas of Minnesota. The full support that the U.S. Attorney is announcing here today will help us secure prosecutions needed to remove these violent offenders from the streets and away from the hard-working people of our communities,” ATF Special Agent in Charge William McCrary said.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Paul said the FBI is using its Violent Crimes and Safe Streets task forces as part of the operation.

“This is a long time coming, quite frankly,” Scott Mueller, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Deputy Superintendent of Investigations, said, adding that the BCA diverted staff from other work to help with data-driven investigations for this operation. The BCA said it will contribute resources to the initiative through September but can’t sustain efforts longer than that without funding, which has been requested.

Asked about the number of juveniles participating in crime around the Twin Cities, Luger noted it’s tough for his office to prosecute juveniles but it’s something his office is discussing and working on. He added that he hopes the federal government’s involvement in combatting violent crime will also discourage people from partaking in violent crimes.

Luger said, before launching the initiative, authorities talked to community members, victims of crimes, and community members who were working to stop criminals and got the message that this initiative was needed. He added that the operation will continue “until it is not needed.”

Watch the full announcement here:

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