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St. Paul mayor proposes over $1M in public safety investments

Updated: November 20, 2019 06:22 PM

On Wednesday, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter presented his plan to address crime and safety.

It comes as community leaders are demanding solutions with homicide numbers in the city at their highest levels in decades.

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The mayor said he's listened to the community over the last few weeks at public meetings and he's not surprised with what he heard, because he knows this is a critical issue. He believes a different approach is necessary.

In his budget proposal, Carter pointed toward ways to better connect the community, stepping up the quality of life at public spaces to try and deter crime, and employing local leaders to engage with youth.

He believes it's all about data-driven solutions and investing in community-based resources. This comes at a time when St. Paul is seeing a record number of gun-related homicides for 2019.

Emails show St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter says 'no' to ShotSpotter technology

Police Chief Todd Axtell has expressed interest in the ShotSpotter computer technology, something he said would cost the city $250,000 after a $500,000 state grant. But the mayor said at Wednesday's budget proposal that the national data doesn't suggest that's an effective tool.

While Carter may disagree with the chief in some areas, he's willing to work together to try to end the cycle of violence.

"We know interrupting a cycle we've been stuck in for generations will require both investment and time, I'm confident taken together they do represent perhaps the most comprehensive approach to public safety and crime prevention that our city has ever undertaken," said Carter.

Axtell released the following statement after Wednesday's meeting:

"I appreciate Mayor Carter taking a long-term approach to addressing the root causes of gun violence in our city, and I look forward to reviewing the details of the plan once I receive a copy. While I'm disappointed that we won't be able to employ ShotSpotter in our efforts to address the immediate crisis our neighborhoods are facing on a daily basis, I will not let it deter us from working every day to protect the peace and maintain public safety through hard work, innovation, collaboration and trusted service with respect." 

The city council will vote on a final budget next month.

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Brett Hoffland

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