Violent crime in Minneapolis trending downward
Violent crimes through the first nine months of 2023 in Minneapolis, compared to this same time a year ago, are trending downward, while the number of sworn officers available for patrols has now dipped to just 515.
Assistant MPD Chief Katie Blackwell, told a Minneapolis City Council committee the violent crime trends, including violence committed with guns, are headed the right way with homicides, robberies, and the gun violence index all down significantly from a year ago.
But, Assistant Chief Blackwell also said the department is stretched thin right now.
“The numbers are, obviously, critical. I think our department is facing a significant burden to the point where cops are getting tired,” said Blackwell.
City Council member Robin Wonsley, asked Blackwell if there should be more discussion about adding more officers when crime trends are down at current MPD staffing levels.
“When we were at our peak of 800-plus officers several years ago, what we also saw in that is it does not correlate to community safety,” said Wonsley. “And, that’s what the DOJ and the MDHR reports also confirmed.”
Blackwell said it would be difficult to continue at this pace with a dwindling number of officers over the long run.
“It’s easy to say look at all this crime reduction and we’re doing it with only 515 cops on duty, but really we’re doing it with the help of external partners who are doing it temporarily with us whether they are civilians, or temporarily with us for the summer events,” said Blackwell. “And, that’s when you start having more complaints against officers, or possibly use-of-force incidents, or mental health, or all these things that associate with it.”
Blackwell also said SWAT teams will now be required to wear helmet cameras and their use would be governed by the same policies that apply to the body-worn cameras officers must wear.