Law Enforcement 'Safe Zone' Patrols Start in Downtown Minneapolis

June 06, 2018 10:54 PM

For 13 years, law enforcement, in cooperation with businesses at the Downtown Council, have stepped up patrols as part of its "Safe Zone" program.

Minneapolis Police, Metro Transit Police and the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office are putting more squad cars and uniformed officers walking the beat in downtown, which is designed to be a pro-active, positive approach to community policing in summer months.


The patrols will be seen on the streets mainly during the day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The patrols expected to end after Labor Day.

Business owners in the downtown district support the stepped up patrols, but there are some people in  the downtown area who think the extra law enforcement presence is a little intimidating.

RELATED: Minneapolis Considers Purchasing 1,200 New Surveillance Cameras for Downtown 

Tracy Burlow said she is not opposed to more officers out on the streets, but said there could be other ways to handle it without being overbearing to some people.

"I think more police downtown is generally a good thing, but maybe it doesn't have to be seen as much," Burlow said.  "I think it is intimidating for some people and maybe they could do it, but have it not be as high-profile."

Others, like Kelsy Muehlbauer, told said they "love the idea."

"Because I have been a crime victim down here," Muehlbauer said.  "I have had my purse stolen, my cell phone stolen, been pickpocketed. So I think it is great and I feel much safer because of the extra police presence."

RELATED: Extra Hennepin Co. Sheriff's Deputies Now Helping Patrol Downtown Minneapolis 

Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, said law enforcement loves doing the "Safe Zone" patrols in the summer months and his deputies had over 3,000 interactions with people last year and the vast majority of those were not related to crime.

"Our deputies talk with all the businesses on the strip down there and with others walking the streets," Stanek said.  "We communicate with people at the bus stop headed home from work, with people heading out for a night on the town and it is a very positive thing for everyone."

All three law enforcement agencies put out more than a dozen extra patrols in the downtown area.


Jay Kolls

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