Updated: June 30, 2021 10:20 PM
Created: June 30, 2021 10:03 PM
Recently released records from the Minneapolis Police Department compare violent crime statistics between the first six months of 2021 and 2020.
From Jan. 1 through June 21, there were 41 homicides, an increase of 64% compared to the same time period in 2020. Robberies were up 30% and aggravated assaults were also up by nearly 10%.
The 11,778 ShotSpotter activations over that period represent a 73% increase, and the number of gunshot wound victims stands at 288 —a 39% increase.
Former north side Minneapolis City Council Member, Don Samuels, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS he is not entirely surprised by the numbers because “we live those numbers every day and hear those gunshots every day and usually find out someone was killed.”
Samuels told KSTP he supports community outreach, youth mentoring and more job opportunities to help curb the violence, but he also said there needs to be more police officers on the streets to go along with community programs.
Samuels and a small group of north Minneapolis neighbors have filed a lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis for allegedly dropping below the minimum number of police officers required under the City Charter.
“And right now, we are at a point where we need serious intervention by law enforcement to tamp down the overt flouting of the law,” Samuels said. “This total disregard for the law is resulting in the deaths of young children and will continue if we don’t stop it immediately with stronger enforcement.”
Meanwhile, the organizers of the 21 Days of Peace campaign told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the statistics released by MPD are encouraging for the eight so-called “hot spots” police have identified: four each on the north and south sides of the city.
The Rev. Jerry McAfee of New Salem Missionary Baptist Church said the 4th Police Precinct violent crime numbers for the 21 Days of Peace, between May 28 and June 17, show the four targeted “hot spots" on the north side improved.
“Shootings were down, killings were certainly down, everything was down on 36th and Penn by, I think, 68%,” McAfee said. “Lowry and Logan were down 18%, but it looks like an oasis now based off what Inspector Adams said to what it used to be, and it’s the same thing with 36th and Lyndale.”
The Rev. Carmen Means, pastor of The Movement Church, said the organizers of 21 Days of Peace are not trying to sound like they have all the answers to the violent crime problem, but she said it was imperative as community leaders to turn out and show neighborhoods they care and are part of the solution.
“It’s about putting our differences aside and really getting in as a Black church and being very intentional about the power of presence,” Means said. “We just believe in the power of being present, and in believing in the power of being present you also believe in the power of community.”
The Samuels lawsuit is now in the hands of a Hennepin County judge and a ruling is expected any day.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo was unavailable for comment.
The next 21 Days of Peace is scheduled to start July 6.
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