Minneapolis Commissioner of Community Safety wants more data from violence interrupter program

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Minneapolis Commissioner of Community Safety, Dr. Cedric Alexander, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS he thinks the Office of Violence Prevention “does a lot of great work.” Still, he would like to see more hard data about the progress made by multiple non-profit groups hired by OVP to stop violent crime before it happens.

The city agreed to pay those non-profit groups, collectively, $7.5 million in 2022. Alexander said he wants to make sure the data supports their mission.

“I am going to be delving in a lot deeper in terms of how some of this funding that we’re spending is really being effective when it comes to reducing crime,” said Alexander.

Alexander told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that the lack of substantive data is “problematic” but believes that information will be delivered to him soon.

“Part of the questions that I have heard come up to me very often, with these violence interrupters, is their presence, when they show up, how they show up, the length of time they’re showing up, are they being as effective as we would like them to be considering the money we’ve spent on this program,” said Alexander.

Last June, then-Director of OVP, Sasha Cotton, told the Minneapolis City Council that between May and December 2021, the violence interrupters had over 8900 interactions with the public and resolved more than 1500 conflicts ranging from verbal altercations to potential shootings.

Alexander said some good things are happening with the violence interrupter program but he needs more concrete details to share with the public.

Alexander said, “Seven to eight million dollars a year budget, and I need to clearly understand, without question, what it is that they’re doing, how they’re doing it, the effectiveness of it and everybody’s got to show complete accountability across the board.”