Proactive Police Stops in Minneapolis Drop Dramatically Compared to Past Years

October 17, 2016 10:27 PM

Traffic stops, suspicious vehicles and suspicious people.

These are the calls categorized as "proactive stops" by police.


Across the city of Minneapolis, numbers show these stops are way down compared to this time last year.

"You can only assume that the cops are going to be second guessing themselves, should I engage, should I do this or should I not," said Minneapolis police union president Bob Kroll last November.

He was predicting this drop in proactive stops we're seeing today as relationships between police and citizens started to strain nationwide and about two weeks before the shooting death of Jamar Clark and the occupation outside the 4th precinct that followed.

"They see people getting in trouble for everything they do," he said nearly one year ago. "They're second guessed. They're damned if they do, damned if they don't these days."

Kroll believes the problem has only gotten worse, using the Edina pedestrian stop from last week as an example.

An officer chose to make a self-initiated proactive stop and it ended up online and viewed millions of times.

"It's very clear that there's a problem. There's something going on," said former California police officer and current consultant David Blake.

He's more of an academic as he studies what he calls "The Ferguson Effect."

Blake conducted a nation-wide survey to try to identify whether these dramatic decreases in proactive policing is a trend.

In Minneapolis, proactive stops have dropped 35.81 percent citywide yet violent crime has risen year to date by almost 5 percent.

"When you see crime rates going up and proactive policing going down, that's, I don't care what anybody says, there's a problem that needs to be dealt with there," said Blake. "The issue needs to be admitted and solved."

Blake surveyed nearly 500 anonymous officers working in cities across the nation and found almost half said they had cut back on monthly proactive pedestrian and traffic stops compared to last year by five to ten fewer stops a month.

"There is something going on within the ranks of law enforcement in this country and it's something that, personally, I believe, if left unaddressed, is concerning for the future."

Minneapolis police say there's no simple answer to this huge decline in proactive stops but add there hasn't been any order given to officers to scale back.

Police also say those suspicious vehicle and person stops are a combination of officer-initiated stops and calls from the community, acknowledging there could also be fewer people calling for help due to the current climate both here at home and across the nation.

Proactive stops in the 4th Precinct are down by 50 percent this year compared to last in an area that's seen violent crime jump by 13 percent.

That's close to 10,000 fewer proactive stops this year in the 4th Precinct alone.


Katherine Johnson

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