MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — North Minneapolis makes up 20 percent of the city, but 50 percent of the city’s murders have taken place there in the past 14 years.
Community, philanthropic and religious leaders joined police and U.S. and county attorneys to have a candid and intimate discussion on Friday.
The Northside Safety Summit was designed to deal with the complex issue of crime in a community where the cycle of violence is hard to break.
They all have a stake in what happens in north Minneapolis: business leaders, clergy, community activists, prosecutors, police, firefighters and educators.
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges says it’s time for north Minneapolis to enjoy the economic success the rest of the city is seeing, and everyone at the table agreed that can only happen when people feel safe.
“Public safety in north Minneapolis is more than what the Minneapolis Police Department can do alone,” Hodges said.
Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau says violent crime is down across the city, but it’s up 24 percent on the north side.
“Our most violent crime areas still remain in north Minneapolis, so although we’ve made strides, we haven’t made the progress that we’d really like to see,” Harteau said.
City leaders hope this summit will bring ideas that can force positive change on the north side.
“We really want to break the cycle of violence, so how do we do that? And that it starts with our young people, that starts with mentorship, that starts with involvement with our youth,” Harteau said.
Helping kids before they get caught up in gangs is just one part of the discussion. Economic and education disparities, jobs and problem rental properties are others.
Most of the hot spots police are forced to deal with are on the north side, and they hope their community partners can help reduce the number of areas where there are problems.
Chief Harteau and Mayor Hodges both say there are people who work and live and spend their lives on the north side without incidents or problems.
Friday’s summit gave them ideas which they hope will lead to the area becoming a thriving economic hub.