MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — You’ll see more police officers and sheriff’s deputies patrolling downtown Minneapolis soon — it’s part of a plan to make it safer for residents and visitors this summer.
“We want to make sure than you can see and feel how much we care about the downtown, and how much we put forth to make sure that everyone’s comfortable and feels great about this place we call Minneapolis,” said Inspector Eddie Frizell with the Minneapolis Police Department.
This is the eighth year for the extra patrols. Nicollet Mall is one of the areas they’re going to concentrate on, along with other areas, including Hennepin Avenue and First Avenue.
Some officers will bike, and others will walk downtown streets.
“When they see us walking around, it’s easy for them to stop and talk to us, and that’s why we’re out here,” said Minneapolis Police Officer John Laluzerne.
He and his partner, Officer Pat McCarver, are two of the Minneapolis cops walking the beat, believing it’s more beneficial than driving it.
The enforcement comes when the number of robberies downtown is up. Police blame warmer weather earlier this spring for sparking the crime.
Crimes have occurred where large crowds have gathered after bar-closings the last year. Police have dealt with stabbings and shootings. Surveillance photos also captured the man police believe stabbed a woman in a downtown parking ramp.
“I feel our enforcement efforts, our presence, and our ability to utilize predictive analysis to utilize what’s going on downtown … we’re going to have great success,” said Inspector Frizell.
Police believe being visible will deter crime this summer, and people who work and go out downtown like the idea.
“It’s good to see the extra patrols out. It makes you feel more comfortable,” said Cassy Vos.
Metro Transit Police Officers will also be part of this enforcement. Quite a few buses come downtown daily, and Metro Transit says ridership is up.
“We want this to be a place where people can come down and enjoy themselves, go to a show, sit on a patio, do their shopping,” said Officer McCarver. “That’s what we want people to enjoy. Feel safe.”