Minneapolis residents express frustration with violence during committee meeting

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On Thursday, Minneapolis residents got their chance to voice their frustration to members of the Minneapolis City Council with violent crime on the rise.

A total of 64 people signed up to speak during the virtual Minneapolis Public Health and Safety Committee meeting. Each person was given two minutes to speak, and that wasn’t enough for some who are fed up with the violence.

"How many people have to be shot, or robbed, or carjacked before emergency action is taken?" asked Shannon, a Minneapolis resident.

The meeting comes at a time when violent crime is on the rise. According to Minneapolis Police, violent crimes are up more than 20% citywide compared to this time last year. It’s up nearly 40% from two years ago.

"I actually used to walk and bike and run and drive with ease, and, progressively, that has gotten worse but I’ve never felt scared for my life until this year," said Christine, who lives in Minneapolis.

There are also more homicides. This year, MPD says there have been 62 compared to 34 at this time last year. That’s a one-year jump of more than 80%.

"This is crazy," said Bill Rodriguez, who lives in Minneapolis.

Rodriguez came up with an "Operation Safety Now" plan. It’s a 60-day emergency initiative to back up MPD, paired with a communications campaign that keeps the public informed.

"If we don’t act soon, here’s what’s going to happen. You’ll be presiding over the biggest exodus of businesses and families that this town has ever seen," Rodriguez said.

On Thursday, the Public Health and Safety Committee approved a resolution for a new position that would work on violence prevention by engaging with the community.

"What we’re talking about here is co-creating new systems of public safety," said Phillipe Cunningham, the Minneapolis councilmember representing Ward 4.

Councilmember Steve Fletcher and his peers understand the urgency.

"There’s a real impatience to get a real public process going around community engagement to really get to a vision of what public safety looks like that’s going to work for everybody, and I think it’s such critical work," said Steve Fletcher, the Minneapolis councilmember representing Ward 3.

Thursday’s meeting was only a public comment period so the council didn’t address any of the speakers directly. The committee will meet again in two weeks.