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|Following up on my recent Facebook post, 2nd Precinct Insp. Bryan Shafer spoke at the 2nd Precinct Advisory Council (2PAC) meeting on July 11. He stated that the police are really asking for our help! The commander told us that Northeast is having a big problem with youth violence and crime right now. The police are pulling out all of the stops to deal with it, but are flabbergasted at how bold, unwieldy and aggressive these youth are.
Shafer stated, for the 2nd time in a month, that what we’re seeing in Northeast is a “post tornado” effect of people who’ve been displaced here following the tornado, and they’re “bringing their friends.”
Shafer stated that there's a roving group of about 20-30 youths (males and females) that have a complete disregard for the law, they are aggressive and they are even physically fighting with the police when confronted (we even posted an alert or two about them on Facebook on Monday, July 11). They are acting in concert via "flash mob" mentality to overwhelm shop owners, commit theft and robbery and “beat down” and rob citizens, in addition to being generally intimidating and causing havoc in the neighborhood.
The Inspector urged us to work together and to support the police as they deal with this situation. He asked that we call 911 any time we see not only suspicious or criminal behavior (assaults, intimidation, vandalism, etc), but to also call if we see these youth smoking, spitting, violating curfew, blocking sidewalks, etc. He said that the police are “hitting hard” to address the problem from every possible angle and they want to hear from us so the situation doesn't escalate even further.
He asked that everybody SHARE this info with your friends and neighbors and get the word out that the police are working hard to deal with the situation. He gave an example of resident who got mad at the police for driving up onto the boulevard where the mob of 30 or so had gathered and were fighting on Monday. Schafer doesn’t want his officers to feel hesitant to do what they have to do to control these situations, so let your neighbors know that they may see the police aggressively acting to deal with the problem, and to cut them some slack.
The inspector and Community Attorney, Heidi Johnston, also urged us to continue to come to the avenue to patronize local businesses and restaurants, use the library and visit the nearby parks. Just be aware of what’s happening around you.
To help combat the issue the 2nd Precinct has implemented a new two-person beat along Central Avenue that patrols from 1:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. between 19th Ave. and 27th Ave., and includes roughly two blocks both east and west of Central along that corridor.
Shafer also said that two new portable cameras will be added soon, and that they have a number of other strategies in place, as well (he didn’t elaborate, but there was an indication that possibly some decoys or undercover work may be taking place).
He also said that they’ve had Minneapolis inspections, business licensing and the problem properties unit looking at the Highland Market on 26th & Central, a hub of loitering and suspicious activity. He said they have their eye on the business, but at this time the market is meeting the “minimum standard” allowed to stay in business. And, unless the police can directly connect some of the crimes to the business, there isn’t a lot they can do.
Schafer also told us that the problem juveniles appear to be living in a handful of addresses in the area, and that the department is working to contact with the landlords of those properties to deal with the situation from that end. One thing we can all do is keep the pressure on the landlords by continually reporting any and all housing code violations to 311 on these problem properties. Report everything from broken screens/windows, overgrown grass, garbage and litter, general disrepair, peeling paint, inoperable vehicles, vehicles parked on grass, etc.
Shafer said that a few arrests have been made, and they’ve had about a 70% charging success rate, but he said there’s a long road ahead over the next couple of months.
CALL TO ACTION:
The other piece of distressing news Schafer shared is that the departing 2nd Precinct CPS Tom Thompson will not be replaced, at least not in the near future (mostly due to budget issues).
I voiced the opinion that being left with only one CPS in the 2nd Precinct was unacceptable and asked what we as citizens could do. He stated that we should contact our City Council members to voice our concern. Their contact info is listed below:
Ward 1, Kevin Reich, (612) 673-2201, E-mail Kevin.Reich@ci.minneapolis.mn.us
Ward 3, Diane Hofstede, (612) 673-2203, Diane.Hofstede@ci.minneapolis.mn.us
Related news story (Robbers brutally beat 75 y/o man).