Violent start to year, commissioner of community safety still confident about progress

[anvplayer video=”5156877″ station=”998122″]

While Minneapolis is off to a violent start of the year, there is still confidence at city hall that the city is on the right path.

Since Jan. 1, more than 20 people have been shot and police have started two homicide investigations — which includes two quadruple shootings where everyone is expected to survive.

The violent start follows a productive year to curb crime — there were 14 fewer homicides in 2022 than the year before at 79, and for the first time since 2019, nearly every category of violent crime improved.

RELATED: Minneapolis violent crime numbers drop significantly in 2022

“As it relates to public safety itself, we really have to just keep our foot on the gas and continue to drive forward and bring community with us,” Dr. Cedric Alexander, commissioner for Minneapolis’ Office of Community Safety, said.

2023 will be Dr. Alexander’s first full year in the position — a couple focuses he has are strengthening relationships and continuing to reduce violent crime. One way they’ve been able to do both is through Operation Endeavor, which was Dr. Alexander’s first major initiative where law enforcement resources are strategically places throughout the city based on crime data.

While the future of Operation Endeavor has never been made clear by the Minneapolis Police Department and city leaders, Dr. Alexander tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS it will continue into the new year.

In the latest report from Operation Endeavor, Shotspotter activation decreased by 47% and carjackings dropped by 67% compared to the year before. The report shows 76 guns were also confiscated from 10/25 – 11/21.

One credit the commissioner has for the success of the initiative has been the partnership with community groups known as “violent interrupters.” In late summer, he told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that he wanted more hard data about their effectiveness.  

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

“What I’ve been able to do is, certainly over the last several months, [is] gain a better understanding of exactly what their job and function is,” Dr. Alexander said about the violent interrupters, adding: “I think they’re doing a good job and we’re going to continue to work along with them. [They] are a valuable asset in terms of our crime fighting efforts [and] in terms of us keeping our community safe.”

One of those groups has been 21 Days of Peace — since Operation Endeavor began, they’ve focused their effort in downtown Minneapolis.

“The pervasive attitude that continues to permeate community has to be addressed by those of us in the community,” Reverend Jerry McAfee, with 21 Days of Peace, said.

“What I don’t want us to get into the habit of it is putting it all in the hands of law enforcement to take care of the issues. If we are community, all of us got to do it. Everybody has to play a role,” Reverend McAfee said.

Minneapolis police say a new report highlighting Operation Endeavor’s work will be released in the coming weeks.